Estes Park residents and visitors should be cautious of wild bird droppings: Avian Flu causes growing U.S. outbreak

Wild birds (like ducks and geese) can shed viruses in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. (Photo by Michael Ryon, Estes Park Health)

As the U.S. begins preparing stockpiles of millions of vaccines against the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1), Estes Park Health reminds residents and visitors to avoid contact with wild bird droppings.

“H5N1 bird flu, also known as avian influenza, is primarily transmitted from birds to humans through close contact with infected birds or their secretions,” explained Michael Ryon, RN, Estes Park Health Interim Infection Prevention Manager. “While the virus can be found in bird feces, the risk of transmission from bird droppings on golf courses is generally low; however, it’s essential to take precautions.”

These birds like to congregate on Estes Park’s golf courses, so golfers who handle balls, clubs, or even disc golfers who handle frisbees, should not touch their face and should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer to cut down on risk. (Photo by Michael Ryon/Estes Park Health)

Those precautions include the following:

Avoid direct contact: Refrain from touching bird droppings or contaminated surfaces.

Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands thoroughly after being outdoors, especially if you’ve touched any potentially contaminated areas.

Wear protective gear: If you work in areas with bird feces, use gloves and other protective equipment.

Monitor your health: If you experience flu-like symptoms after exposure, seek medical attention promptly.

Health experts say refrain from touching bird droppings or contaminated surfaces. (Photo by Michael Ryon/Estes Park Health)

While H5N1 is rare in humans, it can be severe.

The CDC has reported that a third person in the U.S. has now been infected with bird flu originating from sick cows.

Wild birds (like ducks and geese) can shed viruses in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces.

These birds like to congregate on Estes Park’s golf courses, so golfers who handle balls, clubs, or even disc golfers who handle frisbees, should not touch their face and should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer to cut down on risk.

According to the CDC, bird flu has a fatality rate of about 50% of the known cases in humans. Bird flu can cause fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches.