Avian influenza (bird flu)

This winter, we are facing the worst outbreak of bird flu we have known and if this outbreak follows previous patterns there is likely to be a larger peak later in the winter. Impacts are already significant in the north of England and Scotland for Svalbard Barnacle Geese. The infection in wild birds is now widespread throughout the UK.

Whilst cross contamination to humans is rare, advice is:

  • Not to approach or touch any sick or dead birds
  • To wash hands and footwear thoroughly when returning from a walk.
  • To keep dogs on a short lead to reduce the chance of them coming into contact with sick or dead birds.
  • To report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, to the Defra helpline 03459 33 55 77 in England, Wales and Scotland or to the DAERA helpline 0300 2007840 in NI.

It is also important to keep garden feeding stations clean (weekly) using mild disinfectant and using gloves etc. This is important for Trichomonosis as well.

Jonathan Cook