Northern Ireland’s Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has confirmed avian influenza (HPAI) has been detected in two fox cubs along with wild birds in the Portrush area.
While this is the first time mammals have been confirmed as having influenza of an avian strain in Northern Ireland, it is not unexpected. There have been findings of AI in mammals over recent months across Europe, Great Britain, and the Republic of Ireland.
The most recent findings from Portrush were detected as part of DAERA’s routine disease surveillance, and the laboratory has confirmed the strain of the disease as H5N1 in both the fox cubs and wild birds.
DAERA is encouraging the public to keep their dogs on leads and keep pets away from carcasses, particularly in coastal areas. Posters have recently been issued in conjunction with local councils to reiterate this message.
The public is also being urged to report any findings of dead wild birds through the new online reporting form on the DAERA website. Since its launch almost two weeks ago, over 150 reports have been made by members of the public.