Avian Influenza

Find out about Avian Influenza and what to do if you find a dead or sick bird.

Avian Influenza in Sussex

The Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed a number of cases of avian influenza (bird flu) on the Sussex coast. 

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that bird flu is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low. 

However, do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find and keep dogs on a lead. 

Anyone who has been in direct touching contact with visibly sick or dead birds should wash your hands immediately.

For the safety of residents and their dogs, we encourage all dog walkers to keep their dogs on leads if they come across visibly sick or dead birds.

Read more about Avian influenza (bird flu).

Brighton & Hove City Council is working with neighbouring local authorities and other partners to contain further spread. 

If you find a dead bird in a public area 

Where dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), gulls or birds of prey are found on public land please do not touch or pick up the bird and keep dogs away from them.

Report them to the council so they can be disposed of safely. 

You can:

You'll need to tell us as much information as possible about the bird and its location including:

  • the address, postcode, nearby landmark or What3Words reference
  • what type of bird and how many there are
  • your contact details in case more information is needed

If you find a dead bird on your private property 

A dead bird remains very low risk to humans but please do not touch the bird. 

Where you find any dead wild waterfowl, gulls or birds of prey, on your private property please report them to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77. 

Depending on the circumstances, they may advise you to follow the Defra advice for the disposal of dead or sick birds or to contact the council. 

You will need to contact a pest control service if you want a dead bird removed from a roof or other inaccessible area of your property.

If you find a sick or injured bird

As Brighton & Hove is an area with confirmed bird flu, please do not touch, feed or pick up a sick or injured bird. 

If you have found a sick or injured bird, please follow the advice from the RSPCA.

Please call the RSPCA on 0300 1234999 for advice. Do not approach or handle the bird yourself. If you have already touched the bird, please wash your hands immediately, along with any surfaces you may have made contact with.

If you keep poultry or other birds 

Wash and clean your hands before attending to your bird and keep them housed as much as possible to reduce the risk.  

Keep a close watch on your birds for any signs of disease and seek prompt advice from your vet if you have any concerns. 

How to spot the signs of Avian Influenza (bird flu).

Avian influenza is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of avian influenza in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence. 

When to seek medical advice

Call a GP or NHS 111 if you experience any symptoms of bird flu and have visited an area affected by bird flu in the past 10 days. Your symptoms can be checked over the phone.