The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed the identification of avian influenza in a commercial poultry flock in Co. Monaghan while three other flocks in the county are also being investigated.
Retailers in the west have been advised by one Galway-based egg supplier that their producer has reported an outbreak of the virus on their farm.
Shops have been told: “We regret to inform you that our main egg supplier has bird flu. As a result of this, there will be a shortage of eggs.”
According to the Department: “This subtype of avian influenza is not a notifiable disease and has no known public health risk nor international trade implications. Movement of poultry and poultry products onto and from the farm were subject to restriction whilst an investigation into the disease episode was underway."
A spokesperson for the Department added: “Movement restrictions currently remain in place as a precautionary measure to mitigate against the spread of this disease to other locations. The Department will be liaising with the flock-owner with a view to minimising the risk of disease spread from his farm."
The Department has also confirmed that three more flocks in the Monaghan area are being investigated for avian influenza.
“In these cases, the presenting clinical signs and preliminary laboratory results are such that low pathogenic H6N1 is likely to be the disease agent involved. Similar outbreaks of low pathogenic H6N1 avian influenza have been identified in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England over recent weeks,” the spokesperson said.
“While the situation in Monaghan is related to a non-notifiable strain of avian influenza, it is a timely reminder of the importance of ensuring high standards of biosecurity in poultry flocks.
The Department urges all poultry owners including backyard flock owners to be vigilant and to implement strict biosecurity on their premises, particularly by ensuring only essential personnel, vehicles and equipment have access to their flocks and minimising contact between poultry and wild birds.
"Flock-owners should also regularly monitor their birds for signs of disease. If they suspect avian influenza, they must report it immediately to their veterinarian or to one of the Department’s Regional Veterinary Offices."
There have also been a number of outbreaks of the notifiable H5N8 strain of avian influenza in Central Europe and the number of outbreaks has been steadily increasing in the last few weeks, with outbreaks now reported in seven countries.