Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons has announced that the 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.
The Minister has confirmed that the Surveillance Zone around the affected premises in Clough was lifted yesterday, 10 February, whilst the Surveillance Zone around the affected Lisburn premises will be lifted today, 11 February.
However, the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) introduced across Northern Ireland on 1 December, 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 Minister continued, “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 measures, remain vigilant, and report any signs of disease to the Department immediately. The recent confirmation of two further cases of HPAI H5N8 in poultry and captive birds in Wales and England further reinforces that we are not out of the woods yet as far as avian influenza in concerned.”
The most recent cases of HPAI H5N8 have been confirmed near Redcar in the North East of England and on the Isle of Anglesey, Wales.
Notes to editors:
1. An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been in place across NI from 1 December and a mandatory housing order has been in place since 23 December. 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. The application form is available at www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/bird-registration-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 www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/avian-influenza-ai.
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
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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