UK Facilities Management & Consultancy

Avian Flu (Bird flu) – How to spot it and report it

We explain the signs of highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu), how to report it in poultry and other captive birds and what to do if you find a dead wild bird.

Signs of bird flu

Birds infected with the most serious strain of bird flu, called highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), usually show some (or all) of the following signs.

  • sudden death
  • swollen head
  • closed and runny eyes
  • lethargy and depression
  • lying down and unresponsiveness
  • lack of coordination
  • eating less than usual
  • lethargy
  • sudden increase or decrease in water consumption
  • head and body shaking
  • drooping of the wings
  • dragging of legs
  • twisting of the head and neck
  • swelling and blue discolouration of comb and wattles
  • haemorrhages and redness on shanks of the legs and under the skin of the neck
  • breathing difficulties such as gaping (mouth breathing), nasal snicking (coughing sound), sneezing, gurgling or rattling
  • fever or noticeable increase in body temperature
  • discoloured or loose watery droppings
  • stop or significant drop in egg production

Some species such as ducks, geese and swans can carry the avian influenza virus and spread it without showing any signs of illness.

Birds infected with the less serious strain of bird flu, called low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) may not show clear signs of infection. They may have mild breathing problems. These signs can indicate bird flu, but the avian influenza virus can only be confirmed through laboratory tests.

If you are concerned about the health of your birds speak to your private vet. If you suspect bird flu, you or your vet must report it immediately to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) even if the signs are mild.


How to report suspected bird flu in poultry or other captive birds

If you suspect bird flu in poultry or other captive birds, you must report it immediately by calling:

  • 03000 200 301 if you’re in England
  • 03003 038 268 if you’re in Wales
  • your local Field Services Officeif you’re in Scotland

Bird flu is a notifiable disease in poultry and other captive birds. If you do not report it, you’re breaking the law.

Hazardous waste disposal, including Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is a specialist field, in which UKFMC possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience, consequently we are fully compliant with all relevant legislation; in addition we can offer support and advice on completing all necessary documents and paperwork relating to the transport and disposal of your waste.

This information is licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. except where otherwise stated.

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