Avian Flu – What to do if you find any dead birds

Our SIF Marine Litter Working Group has been looking at the current situation with Avian Flu, what the picture is across the islands and guidance if you find any dead birds.

To help us please fill in our short survey Avian Flu survey. Even if you have not seen any dead birds at this point. This will help us to monitor the spread of dead birds washing up on our shores. If you do find dead birds, the current guidance is:

In Great Britain, if you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77).

The general advice remains do not touch or remove carcasses. This is based on the following expert advice provided by virologists and animal health specialists at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Scottish Government.

  • Carcass removal is unlikely to impact significantly on transmission rates
  • While the risk to public health is low there is still a risk which is why the message remains, “do not touch dead birds”
  • Carcasses are treated as a Category 1 disease risk under the Animal By-Products (ABP) legislation and must be disposed of through an approved facility.
  • There may be a case made for removing carcasses from sites where there is very high public access such as beaches.
  • Any removal will require risk assessment and use of full PPE.

Where the landowner or the local authority deems it appropriate for a dead wild bird, suspected of being infected with HPAI, to be collected and disposed of, guidance approved by SG Animal Disease Control Branch is available on the NatureScot website towards the bottom of the page under “Disposal of Carcasses”.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu) – Guidance for site managers | NatureScothttps://www.nature.scot/doc/highly-pathogenic-avian-influenza-bird-flu-guidance-site-managers

Health and Safety Executive advice is that FFP3 masks do not provide adequate protection unless they are fitted by a qualified person and the user has training on how to put them on to provide a good seal.  Faces are different shapes and some masks fit different people better than others.   https://www.hse.gov.uk/respiratory-protective-equipment/fit-testing-basics.htm

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