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Islanders urged to avoid contact with dead seabirds after bird flu outbreaks in the UK and France

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Wednesday 22 June 2022

The States Veterinary Officers are urging the public to avoid close contact with any dead seabirds found on the island's beaches after news of UK and France seabird colonies being impacted by bird flu.

While the risk of humans catching bird flu are low, people are advised to avoid close with sick or dead seabirds at this time as dead birds may still carry the bird flu virus. Dog owners are also urged to ensure their dogs avoid contact with dead or sickly specimens.

David Chamberlain, States Veterinary Officer, said:

"We are monitoring the international situation vigilantly and local ornithologists are observing our local seabird colonies from a distance. We are also reviewing the actions being taken by authorities in the areas where colonies are infected to see if there is anything we can learn to improve protection of our local colonies from this virus. In the event however that local seabird colonies do become infected with bird flu, it is very likely that dead seabirds will be washed up on our beaches and our advice is therefore to avoid close contact to avoid the risk of potential further spread."

So far in the affected countries there has been no evidence of spread from seabirds to poultry. While it is not impossible for this spread to occur, currently the risks appear to be low. Poultry keepers are however advised to voluntarily register their details with the States Veterinary Officers so that they can be directly kept up to date of any disease outbreaks or any other health or welfare concerns that may arise. A registration form can be found at https://gov.gg/animalhealth.

If you find a dead or sick bird on the beach, please contact the States Veterinary Officer on 01481 221161 or at svo@gov.gg. For out of hours, please contact the GSPCA on 01481 527261.

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