Avian Influenza hits Irish seabird colonies

Extremely Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI H5N1) has hit Irish seabird colonies this breeding season after working rampant by way of related colonies within the UK earlier this yr. The illness, which may infect a variety of fowl species, seems to have hit breeding Gannet colonies significantly laborious.

Northern Gannet
An outbreak of Avian Influenza (H5N1) has hit Gannet populations significantly laborious 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 perfect 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 season.

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 isn’t simply seabirds which might be affected by H5N1 — any fowl that comes into contact with different contaminated birds might catch and carry the illness. Wildfowl (geese, geese and swans) and birds of prey are significantly inclined, as are birds like corvids (the crow household) that would come into contact with the illness by way of scavenging contaminated carcasses.

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

Whereas H5N1 is predominantly an avian illness, and solely spreads simply by way of fowl populations, some mammals, together with people in very uncommon instances, could also be inclined to an infection.

What do you have to do in case you discover a sick fowl

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

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

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

Different Irish Avian Influenza Sources

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

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