Avian Bird Flu 2017/18

Avian Flu

Here is the latest advice for reporting possible incidents of avian flu.  Please report any incidents directly to DEFRA.

The virus has not yet been reported in the UK and the risk level for an incursion in wild birds remains as medium for now. However in light of the outbreaks in Europe, birders should remain vigilant for dead birds and report these where required. In England, Scotland or Wales please call the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

Current advice on the DEFRA website states that they require reports of any dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), gulls or birds of prey. For all other species, please only report if five or more are found in the same place.

Helpline staff will advise on whether or not they wish to collect the birds for further testing.

We are advised only to touch sick or dead birds if absolutely necessary and one must wear protective gloves if doing so.


If you absolutely have to handle a sick or dead bird then please observe the following:

  • Avoid touching the bird with your bare hands.
  • If disposable gloves are not available, a plastic bag can be used as a make-shift glove. When the dead bird has been picked up, turn the bag back on itself and tie.
  • Care should be taken not to contaminate the outside of the bag. Tie the bag and place it in a second plastic bag.
  • Hands and forearms should then be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
  • If the bird is not being sent for testing, dispose of the carcass in the normal household waste. Alternatively, the dead bird can be buried, but not in a plastic bag.
  • Wash any clothing that has been in contact with the dead bird using ordinary washing detergent at the temperature normally used for washing the clothing. Clean wellington boots with detergent.
  • DO NOT bring dead or sick birds indoors or attempt euthanasia of sick birds


Members of the public are advised not to touch sick or dead wild birds.

Comments are closed.