Don't touch sick, dying or dead birds warns DAERA after bird flu detections in seabirds

People have been urged not to touch sick, dying or dead seabirds after bird flu was detected by officials from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in the north.

The Public Health Agency, meanwhile, has advised that human infections with Avian Influenza are rare as the disease is primarily one of birds and that the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

However the PHA said it is vital that the public do not to pick up or touch any dead or injured wild birds as this can cause the disease to spread to other colonies of seabirds or poultry flocks.

The advice has been issued positive results for Avian Influenza were returned following tests on birds from Rathlin Island.

A colony of gannets. Bird flu has been detected among wild seabirds on Rathlin.

DAERA stated: "With the bank holiday weekend approaching and our coastal areas becoming busier over the summer months, we are reminding the general public of the following advice:

"Do not pick up or touch sick, dying or dead birds, and keep pets away from them.

"Dead wild birds should be reported to the DAERA helpline 0300 200 7840, however not all will be collected for surveillance.

Read More

Read More
Dead swan in County Derry had bird flu

"Where dead wild birds are not required for surveillance purposes, it is the landowner’s responsibility to safely dispose of the carcasses."

The Department said it is working closely with all stakeholders including the PHA and local councils in relation to the matter and that it has taken proactive measures to improve biosecurity at seabird breeding colonies.

"Following these confirmations in wild birds the Department is also stressing the need for all flock keepers to take action to improve biosecurity in order to prevent any incursion of the disease into our poultry flock. Officials will continue to work closely with poultry keepers and the wider industry as we seek to mitigate the risk of an AI incursion in Northern Ireland.

"DAERA encourages all bird keepers (however small) to register their flocks so that they can be communicated with directly with future communications and updates. Registration is straightforward by contacting your local DAERA Direct office or online via the DAERA website.

"Flock keepers can also sign up to the text alert service simply by texting 'BIRDS' to 67300 to receive immediate notification of any important disease information which will help to protect flocks at the earliest opportunity," DAERA stated.