Avian Influenza Surveillance Zones lifted

Date published: 21 December 2022

Chief Veterinary Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr. Robert Huey, has announced that the Avian Influenza Surveillance Zones in County Fermanagh have now been lifted and movement restrictions removed.


Dr. Huey confirmed that the Surveillance Zones will be lifted from 00:01 on Thursday 22 December. These zones have been in place since official confirmation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 in two commercial turkey holdings near Clones, County Monaghan.

Dr Huey said: “When HPAI H5N1 was confirmed at two premises in County Monaghan, the Chief Veterinary Officer for the Republic of Ireland took the decision to adopt appropriate disease control measures. I declared corresponding disease control zones for the areas which extended into Northern Ireland.

“Officials from DAERA have worked closely with colleagues from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) 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 movement restrictions. In addition, after the completion of preliminary cleansing and disinfection, the 3km Captive Bird Monitoring Zone at Castle Espie, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) has also been lifted as of 1pm on 16 December 2022."

However, the Chief Veterinary Officer has reiterated that Avian Influenza is still a real and present threat to Northern Ireland industry: “It is imperative that we don’t get complacent with the lifting of these Surveillance Zones. The risk of an avian influenza incursion into poultry flocks in NI is still present and I am urging all bird keepers, particularly over the holiday period, to critically review biosecurity measures, remain vigilant, and report any signs of disease to the Department immediately.

"I want to stress that the AIPZ remains in place across the whole of Northern Ireland and that includes the need to adhere to those strict biosecurity measures and the mandatory housing order introduced in November for all kept and captive birds.”

Notes to editors: 

Notes to editors:

1. An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been in place across NI from 17 October and a mandatory housing order has been in place since 28 November. The AIPZ legally requires all bird keepers in NI to keep their birds housed or otherwise kept separate from wild birds and follow strict biosecurity measures. Measures will be kept under regular review.

2. Avian Influenza is a notifiable disease. Anyone who suspects an animal may be affected by a notifiable disease must, by law, report it to their local DAERA Direct Office.

3. The advice from public health officials is that the risk to public health from this strain of avian influenza is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that it poses a very low food safety risk.

4. All poultry and other birds must be registered with DAERA. Download the application form.

5. DAERA encourages all bird keepers to sign up to the text alert service simply by texting 'BIRDS' to 67300.  This will allow you to receive immediate notification of any important disease information, allowing you to protect your flocks at the earliest opportunity.

6. More information about Avian Influenza - including biosecurity guidance - is available from the DAERA website.

7. A new biosecurity - self assessment tool is also available on the DAERA website to assist all bird keepers in complying with the new rules.

8. Members of the public are encouraged to report dead waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the DAERA helpline on 0300 200 7840

9. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office.

10. Follow DAERA on Twitter  and Facebook.

11. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays.

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