Avian flu fears in Fife: Public warned to stay away from dead birds washed up on shore

People have been urged not to touch them – and to keep their dogs away from them.

The birds have washed up at the coast from Tentsmuir from Tayport.

Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve has now had over 20 dead gannets and 10 other birds such as eiders wash up along the beach.

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The birds were washed up along the coastline of north-east Fife

It has reported them to DEFRA – the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – for testing, and live birds to the Scottish SPCA.

A spokesman said: “It is very upsetting to see these birds dead or dying on the beach and our staff are checking the beach regularly to report further deaths.

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“We will be monitoring the situation and responding to guidance as we get it.”

The risk to human health from avian flu is very low, but members of the public should avoid contact and report any additional finds directly to Defra on 03459 33 55 77.

The discovery comes as Forestry and Land Scotland advised all visitors to its forest destinations to avoid touching dead or apparently dying birds.

There have been increasing numbers of reports of dead birds being found across Scotland from locations as far apart as Shetland, Dumfries and Aberdeenshire.

Kenny Kortland, FLS Wildlife Ecologist, said: “We have already found a number of dead seabirds at Tentsmuir forest that are suspected avian flu cases and we expect that it will not be the only visitor destination that we look after where this will occur.

“It is very important that people do not touch dead or dying birds, and that they keep their dogs away from them as well.

“Avian flu is extremely contagious amongst birds and while transmission to humans is very rare, it is important the we all do what we can to prevent assisting the spread of the disease.”

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