Tourists have been urged to avoid contact with sick or dead birds for fear they could become infected with bird flu.
The ongoing UK outbreak, caused by the H5N1 strain, has seen up to a million birds affected by the virus, and experts fear it is about to take off in humans.
The National Trust, which owns around 800 miles of Britain’s coastline, urges visitors to the country’s beaches to be wary of bird flu.
Rhian Sula, general manager of the charity in Pembrokeshire, said staff had been deployed to warn visitors of the risks.
Although the virus does not spread easily to humans, touching an infected bird or its droppings are known routes of transmission.
Rhian Sula, general manager of the charity in Pembrokeshire (pictured), said she had deployed staff to warn visitors of the risks.
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UK health chiefs have long urged the public not to go near sick or dead birds.
Like other forms of flu, humans can become infected if the virus comes into contact with the eyes, nose, mouth, or is inhaled.
But with bird flu, this usually occurs in people who spend a lot of time with infected creatures, such as bird keepers.
Ms. Sula told the BBC that while the locals were aware of the risks, ‘not all visitors are’.
“As much as we’ve put up warning signs, they may not see it or they may ignore it, so we have to have those conversations about why it’s important to keep dogs on leashes and stay away from birds,” she added. . .
A National Trust spokesperson confirmed to MailOnline that it is advising visitors “not to touch any sick or dead wild birds they come across and to report any sightings” to the government website or call Defra.
James Parkin, director of nature and tourism for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, told the broadcaster that local game rangers have collected around 800 dead birds, most of which have been guillemots, razorbills, and gannets.
Jeff Knott, director of policy and advocacy at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, told the BBC there were “unprecedentedly large numbers” of seabird deaths.
While tens of thousands of birds have washed up on Britain’s beaches, the true number could be in the hundreds of thousands or millions, he said.
“Obviously, seabirds spend most of their time at sea, so the chances of them going missing on a beach are pretty low, so we can’t know the real number,” he said.
“This is a genuine crisis that could turn into a catastrophe,” Knott added.
Globally, there have been fewer than 900 human cases of H5N1, which kills nearly 50 percent of all the people it strikes.
But a spate of cases have been detected in the UK since the outbreak began in October 2021.
Alan Gosling, a retired Devon engineer who kept ducks at home, contracted the virus in early 2022 after his ducks became infected.
He later tested negative while in quarantine for nearly three weeks.
Gosling’s 160 ducks, including 20 that lived inside his home, were euthanized after he tested positive.
The new cases come after Alan Gosling (pictured), a retired engineer from Devon, contracted the virus after his ducks, some of whom lived inside his house, became infected in 2022.
A National Trust game warden cleans up dead birds on Staple Island, Northumberland, in July
Bird flu usually occurs in people who spend a lot of time with infected creatures, such as bird keepers. Pictured: A swan on the River Thames at Windsor, Berkshire.
Two British poultry workers tested positive for bird flu in May, making them the second and third human cases ever recorded in Britain.
In an update earlier this month, the UKHSA reported that two other poultry workers have tested positive.
The former suffered from a sore throat and muscle aches, although it is unclear if these symptoms were caused by the virus.
The individual had three close household contacts and all have remained asymptomatic.
The second unidentified case and his three household contacts also did not develop symptoms.
Around 50 other people working at the two affected sites have been tested for bird flu and all have come back negative, the UKHSA said.
No signs of person-to-person transmission have yet been detected in the UK.
Current UKHSA advice states that the public health risk from the virus is very low.
However, European health chiefs this month urged pet owners to keep cats inside and dogs on a leash while walking.
The warning came after at least 29 cats in Poland tested positive for bird flu.
Two cats at a shelter in Seoul, South Korea, have tested positive for the virus, the government confirmed this week.
The center, which has recorded another 36 cat deaths in recent weeks, has been closed. No human cases have been detected, authorities said.
Bird flu outbreak: everything you need to know
What is it?
Bird flu is an infectious type of influenza that spreads among birds.
In rare cases, it can be transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected live or dead bird.
This includes touching infected birds, their droppings, or bedding. People can also get bird flu if they kill or prepare infected birds to eat.
Wild birds are carriers, especially through migration.
As they cluster to reproduce, the virus spreads rapidly, then is carried to other parts of the world.
New strains tend to appear first in Asia, from where more than 60 species of shorebirds, waders, and waterfowl make their way to Alaska to breed and mix with migratory birds in the US. Others go west and infect species European.
What strains are currently spreading?
H5N1 and H3N8.
So far, the H5N1 virus has been detected in some 80 million birds and poultry worldwide since September 2021, double the previous record from the previous year.
The virus is not only spreading rapidly, it is also killing at an unprecedented level, leading some experts to say that this is the deadliest variant yet.
Millions of chickens and turkeys in the UK have been culled or penned up.
But earlier this year, on March 27, the World Health Organization (WHO) was also informed that a Chinese woman had become the first person to die from the H3N8 strain.
The 56-year-old woman from the southern province of Guangdong was the third person infected with the H3N8 subtype of avian influenza, according to the WHO.
Although rare in people, H3N8 is common in birds but causes few or no signs of illness.
It has also infected other mammals.
Can bird flu infect people?
Yes, but only 873 human cases of bird flu have been reported to the World Health Organization since 2003.
The risk to humans has been considered “low”.
But people are strongly advised not to handle sick or dead birds because the virus is deadly, killing 56 percent of the people it infects.