Can I still feed the birds? I saw a dead bird on the beach – what should I do?

Avian influenza – or “bird flu” or “bird flu” – is in the news a lot right now. You may have seen distressing images of dead or sick seabirds on social media or in news reports. Even if you haven’t been to the beach since the summer or if you live in the city, you may have concerns.

It is an animal disease and it is rare to infect humans: we have asked Health, Safety and Environment as well as the Ministry of Agriculture and Birdwatch Ireland To get some information.

Is my health at risk of bird flu?

Avian influenza (AI), commonly known as avian influenza, is a highly contagious zoonotic disease that affects the respiratory, digestive and/or nervous systems of many species of birds. It can also pose a threat to other people and animals in certain circumstances, but these types of infections are rare. However, the risks to public health are considered very low. [HSE]

Is it safe to eat poultry or eggs now?

Properly cooked poultry and eggs do nothing food safety risks. [HSE]

So far, there is no epidemiological data to suggest that the disease can be transmitted to humans through properly cooked food (even if it was contaminated with the virus before cooking). Human cases are associated with close contact with infected birds, exposure to the virus during slaughter and preparation of infected birds.

Poultry produced in Ireland is free of avian influenza virus and all poultry products for sale in Ireland have a very low risk of carrying the highly pathogenic strain of the virus. Poultry and poultry products can be prepared and eaten as usual, provided that they are handled in a hygienic manner, are raw and have been thoroughly cooked before consumption. [FSAI]

Are wild birds in my garden at risk, or could pigeons on city streets and parks be a problem?

Pigeons and most garden birds are less susceptible to HPAI and no cases of H5N1 avian influenza have been confirmed in this species in Ireland to date. [Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine]

So what birds are affected?

The Ministry of Agriculture (Agriculture) conducts Avian Influenza surveillance in wild birds on the list of target species. The list of target wild bird species, most susceptible to highly pathogenic avian influenza, has been drawn up by the European Food Safety Authority [European Food Safety Authority] Based on confirmed species positive for the virus and adapted to Ireland in combination with NPWS [National Parks and Wildlife Service]. This is the current existing of wild birds to be targeted for H5 HPAI monitoring in Ireland. [Dept of Ag]

I love feeding wild birds and watching them in my garden. Can I still do this?

From the point of view of this section, it is of paramount importance that people ensure that there is no contact between bred birds (poultry and pet birds) and wild birds. This is to reduce the risk of infection of kept birds. Caution should be taken when placing bird feeders not to place them close to where poultry or captive birds are located to reduce the risk of spreading disease.

I am not a poultry farmer but I do have some ducks/chickens as pets and I love them. Are they dangerous or are they in danger?

All poultry owners (even if only one or two birds) must be registered with the department – instructions About how to register are available on our website.

In addition, the biosecurity regulations introduced on September 19 apply to all herd owners no matter how small. More information and guidance for members of the public and herd owners can be found on the Department’s website at gov.ie – Avian Influenza (avian influenza) [Dept of Ag]

With the increasing number of cases of wild bird infection seen along the coast, all poultry and captive bird breeders must implement stringent biosecurity measures to mitigate the risk of spreading disease to poultry and captive birds. Poultry farmers and people who keep birds or pets should be aware of the signs of bird flu, and should closely monitor their birds for signs of illness and report any suspicions to the regional veterinary office. [HSE]

I Have A Dog And We Love Walking On The Beach – Is This Still Good?

Do not pick up or touch sick, dead or dead poultry or wild birds, and keep pets away from them [Dept of Ag]

Keep pets away from wild birds. Consider keeping pets indoors or on a leash in areas where wild birds are common. [HSE]

My baby loves to collect feathers while walking. Is this risky?

Avoid untreated bird feathers (such as those in the environment) and other bird droppings. Maintain good personal hygiene by washing hands regularly with soap and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. [Dept of Ag]

What should I do if I see an injured bird?

Do not touch sick or dead wild birds. Human cases of this strain of bird flu are very rare. However, individuals should not touch sick or dead birds.

Report sightings of sick or dead wild birds. People can report any sightings of sick or dead wild birds to their local Regional Veterinary Office or call the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Sea at 01-4928026.

It is also important to note that potentially sick birds should not be brought to wildlife rehabilitation centers or animal rescue centers, as this could infect birds already in their care. [Birdwatch Ireland]

I was walking and saw some dead birds. Can I spread the disease?

Dr. John Fanning, Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Seas, explains the risks:

Avian influenza is highly contagious to birds. Anyone traveling from an area known or suspected to have bird flu or where dead wild birds have been found, should not come into contact with poultry or captive birds without cleaning and sanitizing clothes and shoes beforehand. It is critical that poultry owners and breeders of captive birds maintain the highest standards of biosecurity to protect their birds. Strict biosecurity remains the first preventive measure for the introduction of avian influenza into poultry and flocks.”

Have people been infected here in Ireland? What are human health issues?

Dr. Keith Ian Quentin, Consultant Public Health Medicine, Health Protection, Public Health District Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) explains human health issues: “So far, no cases of human infection It has been reported in Ireland or the European Union. Although the risk to human health is very low, human cases are reported periodically from China, and the United Kingdom recently identified one human case of avian influenza. The disease tends to be mild when the disease occurs in humans. However, elderly and frail patients living with immunosuppression may be at increased risk of more severe disease.”

Here is the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control statement of facts on bird flu