A herring gull found dead at Long Beach, Gorey, has tested positive for Avian Influenza (bird flu).
It is the fourth case to be confirmed in Jersey this year, and birdkeepers are being strongly encouraged to increase their biosecurity measures to prevent an outbreak. Measures include:
Reducing the contact of domestic poultry, waterfowl, and other captive birds with wild birds. Food and bedding should be stored away from wild bird access, and birds should be fed and watered inside their housing.
Removing any spilled feed, litter, and standing water.
Placing foot dips at bird housing or run entrances and exits. Foot dips should be regularly refilled using an approved “diseases of poultry” disinfectant.
Maintaining a routine cleaning and disinfecting routine for bird housing, cages, feed stores and pathways leading to and from bird areas.
Further detailed biosecurity measures are available on gov.je and keepers are asked to ensure they are familiar with them all.
Bird flu is spread when an infected bird sheds the virus in its faeces, saliva, or mucus. Other birds become infected by eating or inhaling the virus. The UK Health Security Agency has said it is primarily a disease of birds and advises that the risk to public health from bird flu is low.
Jersey’s Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, Caroline Terburgh, said: ‘Now, more than ever, we ask Islanders to keep their poultry away from wild birds, and to discourage wild bird access to food, water and bedding intended for the captive birds.
‘By following stringent biosecurity measures we can avoid the potential spread of avian influenza, because we do not want to have to impose mandatory housing restrictions during these hot summer months. We do, however, ask that keepers begin to consider how they might house their birds, should such restrictions be required again in the event of a wider outbreak in poultry or other captive birds.
‘We ask all those working in the countryside, especially those who keep poultry, to be particularly vigilant and report any unusual symptoms. We would advise the public not to handle any dead or unwell birds, and to report any suspicious deaths to the Natural Environment team on 01534 441600.”
For more information on bird flu, including biosecurity measures: Avian flu (birds) (gov.je)