'Strict bio-security' measures needed after second 'bird flu' death at Lough Beg

Wild swans grazing near Lough Beg
Wild swans grazing near Lough Beg

A second wild swan has tested positive for the Avian flu strain H5N8' at Lough Beg, prompting calls for captive bird keepers to adhere to 'strict bio-security' measures to prevents its spread.

The first case of 'bird flu' in Northern Ireland was revealed by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) last week following test results on a wild swan.

Confirming the second case, a DAERA Spokesperson said: "A second wild swan has tested positive for H5N8 Avian Flu at Lough Neagh close to the first finding at Lough beg. In line with the position in the rest of the UK, reports are made for the first case of Avian Influenza identified from the same population or cluster of birds in that location.

"This is because it is not unexpected that further birds from the same population would test positive.

"Testing for Avian Influenza is only carried out on deceased wild birds as part of the overall UK wild bird surveillance programme.

"The presence of H5N8 in wild birds in Northern Ireland clearly demonstrate the need for strict bio-security measures in order to prevent the introduction of avian influenza into poultry and captive bird flocks.

"Keepers of poultry and captive birds, including small backyard flocks, are reminded of the legal requirement to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds."

Further information on bio-security and the measures that bird keepers should take are available at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/avian-influenza-ai