Warning after dead seabirds found at Seaton Carew
Residents and visitors to Hartlepool are being advised not to touch – or allow their dogs to touch – any dead or sick seabirds they find along the coastline.
The warning comes after dead seabirds were found on Seaton Carew beach and dead wild birds have been reported along the wider North East coast.
Tony Hanson, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Director of Neighbourhoods and Regulatory Services, said: “The seabirds have been collected by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and are being examined as part of its ongoing wild bird surveillance survey and will be tested for avian influenza to help understand how the disease is distributed geographically and in different types of bird.
“Not all dead birds will be collected for the purpose of the survey, however any remaining dead birds will be disposed of by the Council.
“We would ask people to please don’t touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds, and to keep their dogs away from them as well.
“Avian flu is extremely contagious amongst birds. Whilst transmission to humans is very rare, it’s important that we all do what we can to prevent the spread of disease.”
If a member of the public comes across a dead wild bird, including dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, they are asked to report it to DEFRA on (0345) 33 55 77 (select option 7).
Providing good location information for a dead or diseased bird is particularly important and location apps such as ‘what3words’ references can be very helpful.