An outbreak of avian influenza in Ireland has led to a drop in egg production.

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed the presence of Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) of the H6N1 subtype in ten flocks in Co Monaghan.

In a statement, the department said eight of the flocks are "table egg laying flocks and two turkey flocks. It is important to note that this particular type of Avian Influenza is not of public health concern".

It also said that four further flocks that had been investigated as suspect cases have been confirmed negative for Avian Influenza.

It said it "has been working closely with representatives of the sector and flock owners to discuss a number of measures aimed at controlling the current outbreak. Poultry flocks are currently engaged in the adoption of a series of biosecurity measures, aimed at mitigating the risk of transmission of the disease to other flocks.

"The sector has acted very promptly in voluntarily culling the affected flocks with a view to minimising the spread of the disease." 

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Egg production is down by as much as 15%, with alternative supplies having to be sourced outside the country.

In the last few weeks demand for eggs has increased by 30%, so the decrease in production has had an impact.

The Irish Egg Association which represents egg packers and producers, said that the strain of avian flu detected is "non-notifiable" and has "no known public health risk".

H6N1 leads to a sharp decline in egg production by laying hens, with the association confirming that 500,000 hens have been culled due to avian flu in Co Monaghan.