Health and Safety Alert: Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

Auckland Council wants to ensure your safety outdoors this year due to concerns about Avian Influenza (HPAI or bird flu). While New Zealand has not reported any cases, vigilance is crucial. Although rare, humans can contract the virus through contact with sick or dead birds or their droppings. Here’s how to stay safe:

What to Do If You Encounter Dead or Sick Birds:

Multiple Dead or Sick Birds: Avoid contact and call the MPI disease hotline at 0800 80 99 66.
Single Dead Bird: Use a litter grabber, shovel, or plastic bag to collect the bird without direct contact. Wear disposable gloves if possible and practice good hand hygiene. Bag the bird and dispose of it in general waste.

DOC recommends using biohazardous PPE when handling sick birds. We are developing a detailed safety plan and PPE guidelines based on DOC’s draft plan.

The national response to a potential HPAI outbreak will be led by MPI and the Ministry of Health, with local councils and DOC playing key roles. Cross-council and interagency planning are already underway, involving various departments.

HPAI has affected birds globally and has also impacted cows and marine mammals overseas. We expect further updates from the government soon.

By following these guidelines, we can protect ourselves and our community from HPAI. Stay informed, stay safe, and report any unusual findings.