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Avian Influenza hits Irish seabird colonies


Extremely Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI H5N1) has hit Irish seabird colonies this breeding season after working rampant via comparable colonies within the UK earlier this yr. The illness, which might infect a variety of hen species, seems to have hit breeding Gannet colonies notably onerous.

Northern Gannet
An outbreak of Avian Influenza (H5N1) has hit Gannet populations notably onerous in 2022

Gannets, our larges seabird, nest in dense colonies on uninhabited offshore islands numbering tens of 1000’s of birds. Sadly these mass gatherings, with birds crammed in shut proximity, present a great atmosphere for transmission of a virus like H5N1 . There are three principal gannet breeding colonies in Eire: a big colony on Nice Saltee off the Wexford coast, a a lot smaller colony on the Bull Rock off the Beara Peninsula in West Cork and one of many world’s largest Gannet colonies on Little Skellig, off County Kerry, which hosts nearly 30,000 pairs of this iconic seabird every summer time.

Seabirds, wildfowl (geese, geese and swans) and extra

Lifeless and dying Gannets are being reported from round Irish coasts this yr, together with another seabirds like Guillemots and Razorbills in smaller numbers. However it’s not simply seabirds which can be affected by H5N1 — any hen that comes into contact with different contaminated birds might catch and carry the illness. Wildfowl (geese, geese and swans) and birds of prey are notably vulnerable, as are birds like corvids (the crow household) that might come into contact with the illness via scavenging contaminated carcasses.

So far there have been no reported circumstances in Eire referring to backyard birds, that are extremely unlikely to come back into direct contact with vectors of the illness. The chance posed by feeding your backyard birds is taken into account minimal.

Whereas H5N1 is predominantly an avian illness, and solely spreads simply via hen populations, some mammals, together with people in very uncommon circumstances, could also be vulnerable to an infection.

What must you do in the event you discover a sick hen

Though the chance of the illness passing from a wild hen to a human host is extraordinarily low, authorities advocate that most of the people keep away from all contact with sick or lifeless wild birds at the moment.

  • DO NOT TOUCH sick or lifeless wild hen
  • DO NOT try to assist sick wild birds, deliver them house, or take them to an animal rescue centre
  • DO NOT enable pets to strategy sick or lifeless wild birds. Hold canines on a lead in areas the place lifeless or sick birds are current.
  • DO report any lifeless or sick seabirds, wildfowl (geese, geese or swans), corvids (crows) and birds of prey via the Official Division of Agriculture internet portal here.

Alternatively, you possibly can name the Division’s Avian Influenza hotline to report potential circumstances of the illness on 01 6072512 throughout workplace hours or 01 4928026 outdoors workplace hours.

Different Irish Avian Influenza Assets

Beneath you’ll discover hyperlinks to different Irish Avian Influenza sources on the internet — we’ll maintain this record up to date as we uncover related new hyperlinks:


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