The Department of Agriculture confirmed that two new cases of bird flu have occurred in Ireland; one in Cork and another in Tipperary.
H5N8 it must be stressed is not a risk to human’s unlike the strain in China which has killed 5 people.
Farmers have been advised to keep commercial birds indoors and despite the department being slow on the uptake with regards to the bird flu crisis no major outbreaks have occurred in Ireland. We have lucky as the last country affected in Western Europe with the disease because we seem in ways to be getting the tail end of it.
The disease however is interesting in that each case has occurred in different parts of the country from Longford to Cork. Birds of course can travel wide distances but it means that the disease has not been centralised anywhere. (meaning when not if the first commercial outbreak occurs it could be in any part of the country.)
Dealing with the disease has largely been left up to the poultry farmers themselves, they are responsible for keeping their birds housed, even their free range birds (which does raise some question about how the birds can now be marketed.)
Whatever the Departments plans the EU has seen the dangers of the outbreak and has now set aside €165m in funding to tackle diseases and outbreaks including birdflu.
But is it a case of too little too late? The outbreak has probably reached its peak in the mainland. Hopefully the fund will not need to be used on our own island. Right now however we remain in a state of clear and present danger with every migrating bird a potential patient zero.