Huge numbers of poultry have been culled across the EU, as the highly pathogenic form of bird flu spread in Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic since the New Year, and into Germany, where a case of the H5N8 bird flu was confirmed in a poultry farm in the eastern state of Saxony just over a week ago.
All poultry on the farm at Bad Lausick, near Leipzig, were slaughtered, and a quarantine area set up around it, as required by EU directive whenever a case of this notifiable disease is found.
The Czech Republic confirmed their second outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in mid-February on a commercial farm of 137,500 turkeys and broilers.
Bulgaria reported their first outbreak around the same time, followed by five more outbreaks.
Poland confirmed 12 new outbreaks of HPAI H5N8 since mid-February.
The number of outbreaks in Europe has exceeded 50.
Low pathogenic avian influenza H6N1 has been found in Ireland in two commercial egg layer flocks in Co Monaghan.
The authorities in Northern Ireland have confirmed 12 outbreaks of LPAI H6N1 so far in 2020.
This is not a notifiable disease, and symptoms can be relatively mild.
But the Department of Agriculture wants flock owners to monitor their flocks closely for signs of disease, and flocks presenting with any clinical signs of avian influenza should be reported to them for a full investigation, in order to rule out the presence of notifiable disease.
People that are exposed to potentially infected birds should avoid direct unprotected contact with birds or their droppings, by taking appropriate personal protection measures.