‘Bird flu’ found in Portrush and Portbalintrae

The Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has confirmed that positive results for Avian Influenza have been found in one gannet and four guillemots from Portrush’s West Strand and Portballintrae.

This follows on from confirmed positive test results for Avian Influenza (AI) in birds from Rathlin Island.

The Public Health Agency has advised that human infections with Avian Influenza are rare and that the risk to the general public’s health is very low, however it is vital that the public do not pick up or touch any dead or injured wild birds as this can cause the disease to spread to other colonies of seabirds or poultry flocks. The Department continues to work closely with all stakeholders including the Public Health Agency and local councils in relation to this matter and has taken proactive measures to improve biosecurity at seabird breeding colonies.

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NI Water’s warning to young people and parents

The general public are reminded not to pick up or touch sick, dying or dead birds, and keep pets away from them. If anyone finds a dead wild bird they are asked to report it to the DAERA helpline 0300 200 7840, however not all will be collected for surveillance.

Where dead wild birds are not required for surveillance purposes, it is the landowner’s responsibility to safely dispose of the carcasses.

Anyone with concerns is asked to refer to the DAERA website for further information on disposal www.daera-ni.gov.uk

Since the beginning of June 2022, there have been positive avian influenza results obtained from dead wild birds submitted from four locations in Northern Ireland: Portrush, Bangor, Lough Erne and Rathlin Island.