Dublin residents warned: ‘Don’t handle dead wild birds!’

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett

Public Health, HSE Dublin and North East are reminding Dublin walkers or swimmers not to handle or touch sick or dead wild birds they might find. This is to protect against Avian Influenza.

Commonly known as bird flu, is a notifiable animal disease and is a highly contagious viral disease affecting the respiratory, digestive and/or nervous system of many bird species. It can also pose a threat to people and other animals in certain circumstances – albeit this is rare. Properly cooked poultry meat and eggs do not pose any food safety risk.

“As the festive season approaches, we urge poultry farmers and the public to be vigilant and to report any dead or dying wild birds they find. It is vital that poultry keepers and flock owners maintain the highest standards of biosecurity to protect their birds,” said Consultant Dr Keith Ian Quintyne.

“No outbreaks have been reported since the start of the flu season for 2023/2024 as compared to two outbreaks in poultry farms last season. Last year, Ireland, similar to other countries in EU/EEA, recorded multiple cases in wild/migratory birds, leading the Department of Agriculture to order all poultry flocks indoors to prevent contamination from infected wild birds. The restriction was only lifted last April,” added Dr Quintyne.

What should I do if I find a dead wild 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 – do not pick up or touch sick, dying or dead poultry or wild birds, and keep pets away from them; avoid contact with surfaces contaminated with bird faeces, untreated bird feathers (such as those found in the environment) and other bird waste.

Regularly wash hands with soap and water or lecan your hands with alcohol-based hand gel; disinfect your footwear if you come in contact with areas where dead birds are found and always report dead wild birds to the local Regional Veterinary Office or contact the Avian Influenza Hotline at 01 607 2512. See https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/influenza/avianinfluenza/

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