Avian ‘flu in Dorset

Because of low bird migration levels between Britain and Ireland, the risk to Ireland remains low in terms of Avian flu, despite an outbreak in Dorset earlier this week.             The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food’s National Disease Control Centre (NDCC) Management Committee met this week to discuss the confirmation of the presence of high pathogenic H5N1 avian ‘flu in three dead wild mute swans in Dorset, England.             The Committee was briefed on the most recent information available from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in Britain and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland.             The Department reminded poultry flockowners of the need for continued vigilance and of the need to exercise the highest standards of biosecurity. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has taken expert ornithological advice from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and BirdWatch Ireland on current migratory patterns between Britain and Ireland. The most recent information available is that there is currently little migration and that the migratory pattern is stable and, as such, the risk to Ireland remains low.