Avian Influenza – Volunteer guidance 2021/22
Avian Influenza (AI) or bird flu is a highly contagious family of viruses that impacts particularly on captive birds, such as turkeys and hens but is also carried and spread by wild birds, particularly wildfowl and gulls. Wild birds are known to be an important vector and spreader of AI – this risk is clearly heightened during periods of bird migration.
Al is a notifiable disease and therefore any suspected cases are required to be reported to the relevant government agency.
Clearly there is the potential for dead wild birds to be found on Woodland Trust land – sites with water bodies being the most likely. There are however no proven cases of humans catching the disease from wild birds. Therefore, the risk to public health from dead wild birds is very low.
The virus is spread through faeces and nasal secretions and as such the key biosecurity measure is to avoid directly touching sick birds or carcasses.
There is no evidence that any type of AI has passed from avian species to dogs. So should any visitor dog or your own dog find or touch any dead bird there is no evidence the dog will be at risk but clearly any concerns should be dealt with through discussion with a vet.
Please do not attempt to move any dead or dying birds you may come across. We are asking volunteers not to deliberately come into contact with dead or dying birds.
Please read the attached guidance for more information about Avian Influenza and how to report any cases you find.