A pet in Co Cork was found to be carrying a virus linked to rabies, the Department of Agriculture has said.
The small sable mammal showed signs of having elyssavirus, which is in the same family of viruses that includes rabies.
The Department of Agriculture became aware of a sable displaying erratic behaviour at a Cork home, where it had been imported and kept as a pet, on January 7.
The animal was euthanised as the investigation could not rule out a rabies infection.
Tests were then carried out at the European Reference Laboratory (EURL).
“Based on these EURL results, rabies cannot be ruled out in the sable,” the department said in a statement to the Irish Times.
Rabies is a viral disease affecting the nervous system of humans and animals. It mainly affects carnivores but can affect any mammal.
The department said the likelihood of the virus spreading is low.
A number of precautions have been put in place within an 8km area of where the animal was kept.
These include a ban on gatherings of dogs, cats or ferrets and group hunting events.
The measures will remain in place for a month.