As the weather gets warmer and people begin to spend more time outdoors, the HSE is reminding people not to handle or touch sick or dead wild birds to protect themselves from bird flu.
According to the Director of the HSE’s National Health Protection Service, Dr Éamonn O’Moore, there have been larger and more frequent outbreaks of avian influenza or ‘bird flu’ in wild birds and poultry flocks than previously experienced in Europe since 2020.
Pictured Above: Dead swan found in Arklow Car Park yesterday between Bridgewater shopping centre and Running Track
Dr O’Moore said: “Transmission of bird flu viruses to humans are rare events. Thankfully, to date, no bird flu virus infection causing illness was observed in the EU/EEA countries. But infection could occur and has been reported in other countries. People at risk are mainly those in direct contact/handling diseased birds or poultry, or their carcasses (e.g. farmers, veterinarians and labourers involved in the culling and rendering), as well as those exposed to contaminated environments.
“We are advising people not to pick up or touch dead or sick wild birds, and to also keep pets away from them. People should also avoid contact with surfaces contaminated with bird faeces and should not handle bird feathers they find in the wild. It is always best practice in general, to regularly wash hands with soap and water or to clean your hands with alcohol-based hand gel when out in the wild.”
Anyone who comes across dead or sick wild birds can notify the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine via the Avian Check App or call the Avian Influenza Helpline Number (076) 1064403 or 1850 2000456 (outside of normal office hours).