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Warnings Issued Over Avian Flu

Shearwater found washed up on a RI beach. Photo RI Div. Fisheries & Wildlife

By now you may have heard about the outbreak of bird flu (highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI) that is being blamed for mass deaths among marine birds. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), state fish & wildlife agencies, and environmental groups are advising the public of recent waterbirds (gulls, cormorants, shearwaters, terns, and shorebirds) found dead along the coast of southern New England in “higher than usual” numbers.

Officials are cautioning the public to avoid any dead birds found washed up on the shoreline. While risk of HPAI to humans is low, the public is urged not to touch dead birds and to keep dogs on leashes and away from carcasses.

HPAI is a threat to domestic poultry. If you maintain poultry (eg., chickens), please disinfect your shoes/boots before visiting beaches, parks, and refuges, and after returning from these places.


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