HSE Public Health Area A (Cavan, Louth, Meath, Monaghan and North Dublin) are urging the public not to touch sick or dead wild birds, following confirmation of a second outbreak of Avian Influenza (H5N1) in Co. Monaghan.
Dr Keith Ian Quintyne, Consultant in Public Health Medicine & Health Protection, HSE Public Health Area A said: “Avian Influenza is a notifiable animal disease, commonly known as bird flu. It is a highly contagious viral disease affecting the respiratory, digestive and/or nervous system of many species of birds. In recent weeks, there have been two confirmed outbreaks of Avian Influenza (H5N1) in turkey flocks in Co. Monaghan. We are continuing to work with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to monitor the cases of Avian Influenza (H5N1) in the region. We are urging owners of poultry flocks to review their biosecurity measures to protect their flocks from an outbreak.”
“People should report any sightings of sick or dead wild birds to the nearest Regional Veterinary Office or ring the Avian Influenza Helpline: 01 607 2512 (Outside of Office hours: 01 492 8026). Also, members of the public can notify the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) of sick or dead wild birds and their location using the Avian Check Wild Bird App. Poultry farmers and people who keep poultry (including game birds or as pets) need to look out for signs of disease in their flocks and to report any suspicions to their Regional Veterinary Office.”
“People should keep pets away from dead birds, and consider keeping their pets indoors or on leash in areas birds frequent. Human cases of this strain of Avian Influenza are very uncommon. However, while the risk of human infection with Avian Influenza viruses are low, individuals should avoid handling sick or dead birds. Poultry and eggs are safe to eat when prepared and cooked properly.”
Dr Quintyne added: “It is really important that we do all we can to protect both humans and birds following the detection of Avian Influenza in the region. We know that people are concerned for wild birds, however it is important that people avoid touching potentially infected sick or dead wild birds, and if you find a dead wild bird to follow the guidance”.
Finding a Dead Bird
It is important to remember that the vast majority of wild bird deaths in Ireland will not be related to Avian Influenza, based on information from surveillance activities. However, you should follow routine precautions to prevent any other risks to your health, by following the advice below about contact with avian species, bird feathers, and bird waste:
- Do not pick up or touch sick, dying or dead poultry or wild birds, and keep any pets away from them
- Avoid contact with surfaces contaminated with bird faeces
- Avoid untreated bird feathers (such as those found in the environment) and other bird waste
- Maintain good personal hygiene with regular hand washing with soap and use of alcohol-based hand rubs
- If you find dead poultry or wild birds, you should notify the nearest Regional Veterinary Office or ring the Avian Influenza Helpline: 01 607 2512 (Outside of Office hours: 01 492 8026).