All kept birds and poultry in Northern Ireland (NI) must be housed from midday on 28 November, Department of Agriculture officials in NI have confirmed.

It comes after a similar housing order was implemented from Monday 7 November in the Republic of Ireland and follows on from two confirmed cases of the disease in turkey flocks in Co Monaghan, both of which are close to the border with Fermanagh.

The resultant disease control zones applying to these flocks extend into NI.

Commenting on the latest situation, NI chief vet Dr Robert Huey said that the poultry industry must try to avoid a repeat of last year, which was NI’s worst ever outbreak of avian flu, resulting in a cull of approximately 80,000 birds.

“Avian flu is a cunning and determined virus and will exploit any and all gaps in your biosecurity, which is the best defence you have against an outbreak.

"No one is safe from an incursion and cases in NI will increase significantly over the coming months unless we all take immediate action now,” he said.

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