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Dept of Environment to test dead birds for avian flu

Photo by Eyleen Gomez.

The Department of the Environment has arranged to test dead birds found in Gibraltar for the avian flu.

This follows an appeal last week for the public to call in any sightings, and the Department has thanked the public for doing so.

As a precaution, at this stage, the Department, together with the Environmental Agency and Public Health Gibraltar are working on the assumption that the birds have died from avian influenza.

Even though the risk to the public continues to remain low at this time the Department strongly advised against feeding of pigeons or chickens as this will reduce any chances of transmission.

In addition, pigeon nests can be quite common as these animals breed all year round.

If the general public identify any accessible areas where pigeon nests can be found, these should be reported so the that Environmental Agency or the Ministry of Environment can deal with them.

“The risk to humans from avian influenza or bird flu remains low at this time,” Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Carter, said.

“We are taking a precautionary approach to keep this risk low and this is why we are advising the public not to feed large flocks of birds.”

“There is a risk that the infection can pass from the birds to humans where there are large flocks of birds coming together.”

“There is also the risk that the crowding together of the birds can spread the infection between them and increase the number of birds becoming ill.”

Dead birds should be reported to the Department’s Environmental Protection and Research Unit (EPRU) on telephone 58009620.

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