On Going Gull Mortality in Brighton Area

East Sussex WRAS are aware of substantial number of gulls becoming lethargic and dying in the Brighton & Hove area.

Earlier this week we admitted two gulls which were lethargic but not showing any other signs of illness. Over the next 24-48 hours they rapidly deteriorated and started showing other signs of possible Avian Flu. Another gull was delivered from Brighton showing multiple symptoms which could potentially have been Avian Flu. This bird was euthanised outside and not admitted as a result.

We informed the Animal Plant Health Agency (part of DEFRA) and earlier this week we had to temporarily lock ourselves down as instructed by APHA. Luckily the APHA investigator decided the cases we had dealt with were not Avian Flu.

At this time it is unknown what is the cause of this high and rapid mortality in the gulls from Brighton. DEFRA have been informed and fingers cross they will investigate further.

Some of the symptoms are like that of Botulism, but they certainly don't all fit. The symptoms don't match previous cases of intentional poisoning but symptoms can vary widely.

There is little point in speculating at this point over the cause which may still be a virus of some description but not necessarily Bird Flu.

Due to the high mortality and spread over the last few days, and to help protect the birds already in our care, we will be placing restrictions on what we can admit.

We will talk over each situation with each caller, assess the situation the best we can and then either admit or advise the caller what steps to take next.

We will not be able to admit any birds from the main area affect between Peacehaven and Hove until we know more about what is happening.

We would not advise people to touch any dead birds. Please report all dead and visibly sick birds to DEFRA/APHA on 03459 33 55 77.

If the bird has been injured, hit a window or run over etc then please take the bird direct to your local veterinary centre if you live between Peacehaven and Hove.

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