Although the remaining Avian Influenza Surveillance Zones are to be lifted this weekend, the threat of an outbreak remains high due to the continued presence of infected migratory wild birds, DAERA Minister Edwin Poots has said.
The Minister announced that the remaining two Surveillance Zones are to be lifted on Saturday 22 January, following the successful completion of all disease control activities and surveillance in and around the infected premises.
The Minister said: "These Surveillance Zones are the last local movement restrictions to be lifted and while this is very welcome news, the risk of Avian Influenza has not disappeared and we are certainly not out of the woods yet.
"I would like to thank the poultry industry for their incredible work so far in keeping the disease under control. There is no doubt that the efforts you have made have been vital in stopping the spread of the virus from those premises that were unfortunately affected and prevented any further incursions to date. However, it is now vital that complacency does not set in. Excellent biosecurity 24/7 remains the most effective way to protect individual flocks and our poultry industry from this deadly virus.
"The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) for the whole of Northern Ireland remains in place, which means it is still a legal requirement for all poultry and other captive birds to be housed or otherwise kept separate from wild birds. As part of the AIPZ, bird keepers must follow strict biosecurity measures in order to prevent any further incursions."
There have been five confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 in Northern Ireland, bringing the total number of confirmed cases across the United Kingdom to 81. There are currently six confirmed cases in the Republic of Ireland, of which the disease control zones of four extended into Northern Ireland.