Dear Big Beach Clean Volunteers,
As you may have heard in the news Ireland has been recently struck with the issue of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) among birds with confirmation of Avian Influenza A (H5N1) in wild sea birds at a number of locations across the country.
Members of the public are being advised not to touch sick or dead wild birds following confirmation of a number of cases of avian influenza.
More commonly known as bird flu, avian influenza is a viral disease affecting the respiratory, digestive and nervous system of many species of bird. It can pose a threat to people and other animals in some circumstances, but these types of infections are rare and the risk to public health is considered to be very low (properly cooked poultry meat and eggs do not pose any food safety risk).
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine recently published a press release on their website on Important safety information for the public about Avian Influenza (Bird Flu).
In this they state that members of the public encouraged to take the following advice and safety precautions 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
- Report sightings of sick or dead wild birds the local Regional Veterinary Office or contact the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine at 01 492 8026.
We have gotten a few reports from our Clean Coasts Officers as well as our volunteers that they have spotted a few dead birds on beaches around the country.
If you are in any way in doubt that your Big Beach Clean should take place this weekend we encourage groups and volunteers to postpone their events for another day when this issue has subsided.
If you want to know more about Avian Influenza (bird flu) please head to the gov.ie website where all of the information has been posted and is frequently updated by experts here
If you have any questions or queries about your beach clean event that you need answered regarding this issue please contact Sinead McCoy at email@example.com or phone 0874596152
The Clean Coasts Team