Norway: Health officials advise on preventing bird flu and tularemia
news desk @bactiman63
There has been a large outbreak of bird flu in wild birds in Norway this year, and the bird flu virus has also recently been detected in red foxes.
The disease is very rarely contagious to humans and has only appeared in the world after very close contact with sick or dead birds. Bird flu has never been detected in humans in Norway.
Since these viruses in birds are constantly changing and can develop new characteristics, it is always recommended that you take a few simple precautions to protect yourself from infection.
Tips to prevent bird flu infection:
- Do not touch sick or dead birds.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after contact with birds, bird droppings, or equipment that has been in contact with birds.
- Notify the Norwegian Food Safety Authority if sick or dead birds of certain species are found. In addition, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority wants reports on findings of sick carnivores and marine mammals.
- Contact a physician if you have been in contact with birds or other animals with suspected or confirmed infection and develop flu-like symptoms and/or eye catarrh within 10 days.
- Dogs and cats should be kept away from sick and dead birds.
Bird hunters across the country are encouraged to practice good hygiene in connection with hunting to avoid bird flu infection.
In August, the Veterinary Institute also detected hare plague (tularemia) in several hares in the region east of Oslofjord and Trøndelag.
There are signs that the bacterium is in these areas, but it can also be found elsewhere in the country.
Tularemia can be transmitted to humans. The disease can be transmitted directly by hares or small rodents, by bites from ticks and mosquitoes, through contaminated drinking water or by inhaling dust.
Cases of tularemia in humans are recorded every year in Norway. So far this year, 30 cases of hare plague have been reported in humans, and most of those infected come from Viken and Trøndelag.
Tips to prevent hare plague infection:
In areas where tularemia has been detected and/or where there are many small rodents, you can avoid infection by following these tips:
- Do not drink water directly from nature in areas where there are many small rodents. You can drink the water if you boil it or disinfect it.
- Avoid contact with sick or suicidal hares, mice and lemurs. Wear gloves if handling is necessary and wash your hands afterwards.
- Be careful not to bathe or wash with water where there are visible remains of dead animals in the water.
- Buildings and drinking water wells must be secured against small rodents.
- You can get infected by breathing in dust, for example from piling up firewood, or by sweeping up mouse droppings. When cleaning, use a damp cloth instead. Household chlorine where 1 dl of chlorine is mixed in 5 liters of water can be used to eliminate infectious agents. Please use gloves. Remember to wash your hands well afterwards.
- Avoid being licked by dogs and cats that have recently come into contact with self-dead or diseased hares, or small rodents such as lemurs. They may have contracted the bacteria in their oral cavity and transmitted the infection to humans.
- Use mosquito and tick protection.