Avian Flu Surveillance Zones lifted after 111,000 birds culled

Avian Flu Surveillance Zones lifted after 111,000 birds culled

Local Surveillance Zones around both premises where Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 was confirmed in Northern Ireland have been lifted, and movement restrictions removed.

Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons confirmed the Surveillance Zone around an affected premises in Clough was lifted on February 10, whilst the one around the affected Lisburn premises was lifted in early February.

However, the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) introduced across Northern Ireland on December 1, will remain in place; which includes the mandatory housing order, introduced on 23 December.

Confirming the decision, Minister Lyons said: “When Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 was confirmed in Clough and Lisburn in January, control zones were put in place around each premises as a disease control measure to limit the spread of disease.

“The movement of poultry and captive birds, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure were all restricted and required licences to be moved into or out of the zones.

“My officials have worked closely with colleagues from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and industry stakeholders to manage these outbreaks. Following the successful completion of all disease control activities and surveillance around both premises, the decision has been taken to lift the local movement restrictions. However, I want to stress that the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) measures remain in place across the whole of Northern Ireland.

“The measures in the AIPZ are still considered necessary in order to protect the Northern Ireland poultry flock from further incursions. It is imperative that we don’t get complacent with the lifting of the Surveillance Zones.

“The risk of avian influenza incursion into poultry flocks in NI is still at the highest it has ever been and I am urging all bird keepers to critically review biosecurity.”

More than 110,000 birds were culled as a result of the detection of avian influenza in Northern Ireland, 80,000 in Clough  and about 31,000 at the Lisburn operation.

To date there have been eight positive cases of avian flu in wild birds in Northern Ireland across five different locations.

There also were recent detections in wild birds, poultry and captive birds across Britain in addition to detections in the Republic.

The most recent cases of HPAI H5N8 were confirmed near Redcar in the North East of England and on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales.