Officials asking people not to touch wild birds as Avian Flu is found in Hamilton area

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A case of bird flu has been confirmed in Hamilton, and officials are asking the public not to handle any wild birds.

A Turkey Vulture tested positive for Avian Flu (H5N1) in Dundas.

The viral disease affects mostly domesticated poultry and wild birds, such as geese, ducks, and shore birds.

Wild birds are especially likely to carry and transmit the virus.

While avian influenza can be fatal for both wild and domesticated birds, the risk to humans is very low.

Most cases of avian flu in humans have been traced to handling infected poultry (live or dead) or their feces.

There is no evidence to suggest that properly cooked poultry is a source of concern of avian influenza infection for people.

Residents are being advised not to touch or handle any birds they may come in contact with and are asked to refrain from feeding birds via bird feeders.

If contact with wild birds is unavoidable, wear gloves or layer two plastic bags to avoid contact with body fluids, blood and feces.

Individuals should then wash their hands with warm water and soap.

If individuals have handled a sick wild bird or domesticated poultry, they should monitor for human symptoms of avian influenza, including fever, cough, sore throat, runny or congested nose, muscle or body aches, headache, general fatigue
Conjunctivitis (red eyes), and shortness of breath.

Less common symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or seizures

If an individual is experiencing any of these symptoms and have been in contact with wild birds or poultry in the previous 10 days, they should contact their doctor or nurse.

While human to human transmission is rare, symptoms of avian influenza are very similar to COVID-19 symptoms.
Individuals experiencing these symptoms who have had contact with poultry/wild birds should distance from others and wear a mask until they have received assessment from their health care provider.