Northern Ireland authorities investigating notifiable disease in broiler flock

The agriculture department in Northern Ireland (DAERA) is investigating the possibility of an outbreak of either avian influenza or Newcastle disease in a flock of broilers in County Fermanagh.

A spokeswoman for DAERA told Poultry Business tests were ongoing following suspiciously high mortality first reported last week. 

“A private veterinary practitioner contacted DAERA on 2 January 2020 expressing concerns related to the increased mortality of birds at the holding. DAERA immediately initiated a veterinary enquiry with a Divisional Veterinary Officer visiting the holding in the evening of 2 January 2020. Restrictions have been served on the farm. Samples have been taken and transported to AFBI. Testing for NAD including Avian Influenza (AI) and Newcastle disease (ND) is ongoing.

DAERA officials have arranged a stakeholder meeting Monday 6 January 2020 to provide an update on this investigation and discuss potential next steps whilst results are pending.

“All bird keepers are urged to remain vigilant and if they suspect any signs of the disease in their flocks they must report it immediately to DAERA.  All bird keepers in NI are required by law to register with DAERA and a registration form can be downloaded from the DAERA website. All poultry keepers, including backyard flock keepers and those keeping game birds and pet birds need to act now and maintain high levels of biosecurity at all times in order to reduce the risk of transmission of avian flu to their flocks.

DAERA utilises a text alert service for all bird keepers to receive immediate notifications of disease outbreaks or other important disease information. This enables bird keepers to take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity and they can subscribe to this service by simply texting ‘BIRDS’ to 67300.”

Last month, low pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed in a flock of breeders in Suffolk. All 27,000 birds were culled. 

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