Human case of avian influenza detected in the UK

Human case of avian influenza detected in the UK

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed a case of avian influenza in a person living in the south west of England.

The government confirmed in a statement that the identified person acquired the infection from very close, regular contact with a large number of infected birds, which they kept in and around their home over a prolonged period of time.

According to the statement, all contacts of the individual, including those who visited the premises, have been traced and there is no evidence of onward spread of the infection to anyone else. The individual is currently well and self-isolating.

The case was detected after APHA identified an outbreak of the H5N1 strain of avian flu in their flock of birds. Their infection was identified through the routine monitoring which is conducted on anyone who has close contact with infected birds. The infected birds have all been culled.

Bird-to-human transmission of avian flu is very rare and has previously only occurred a small number of times in the UK. The government maintains that the risk to the wider public from avian flu continues to be very low. However, people should not touch sick or dead birds.

This is the first human case of this strain in the UK, although there have been cases elsewhere globally. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been notified of the incident.

The UK’s chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: “We are seeing a growing number of cases in birds on both commercial farms and in backyard flocks across the country. Implementing scrupulous biosecurity measures will help keep your birds safe.”

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