More Individuals Test Positive for Bird Flu in the U.K.

Following the start of the government's program for testing those at risk of catching the illness, a total of four individuals in the United Kingdom have now been identified as having the H5N1 avian influenza strain of bird flu.

Avian flu, often known as bird flu, is a contagious form of influenza that affects birds. Humans may occasionally be affected by it. The avian flu virus has a wide variety of strains. The majority of them don't affect people. However, throughout the past decades, four strains — H5N1- causing the country concern; H7N9, H5N6, and H5N8 — have raised concerns.

While quickly spreading and destroying bird colonies across the U.K. and Europe, avian influenza is often complicated for people to contract. Some symptoms of bird flu may include a high fever, headache, cough, and chest pain.

Instead of spreading from person to person, cases have been discovered in humans when they were exposed to sick birds for a prolonged period.

But after more than two dozen cats in Poland were confirmed to be infected, there are worries that the virus may have mutated. If the virus spreads among the animals we spend more time with, it could be easier for humans to contract and spread it.

The European Food Safety Authority shared with The Mirror that the current epidemic has been dubbed the "largest ever observed in Europe."

In response to the human cases, a representative for the U.K. Health Security Agency states that a total of four detections had been made through the initiative, which was started in March and seeks to identify potential animal-to-human diseases in humans who are exposed to diseased birds.

The agency continues that as of July 10, 2023, 144 individuals from the eight problematic locations have been evaluated thanks to increased surveillance of poultry workers.

The avian influenza viruses that are now circulating in birds all over the world, according to Meera Chand, Deputy Director of UKHSA, do not transfer quickly to people.

She continues that since we already know that the bird flu virus may infect humans after intimate contact with infected birds, surveillance programs like this allow us to keep track of those exposed and learn more about the hazards.

Chand concludes: "These detections can follow contamination of the nose and throat from breathing in material from the environment, or can be due to infection. It can be difficult to distinguish these in people who have no symptoms. Following any detection, we will immediately initiate the appropriate public health response."


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