Bird Flu in the U.K: Two More Individuals Affected By the Disease 


UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Following the initiation of the government’s program to test individuals at risk of contracting the illness, a total of four individuals in the United Kingdom have now been identified as having the H5N1 avian influenza strain, commonly known as bird flu.

Bird flu, a highly contagious form of influenza that primarily affects birds, can occasionally be transmitted to humans. The avian flu virus encompasses a wide range of strains, with the majority of them posing no threat to humans.

 However, in recent decades, four specific strains, namely H5N1, H7N9, H5N6, and H5N8, have emerged as causes for concern in the country.

Avian Flu Destroying Bird Colonies Across UK

Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, is rapidly spreading and devastating bird colonies throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. However, it is important to note that contracting this disease is often complicated for humans. Some symptoms of bird flu include a high fever, headache, cough, and chest pain.

Unlike other diseases that spread from person to person, cases of avian influenza in humans have been primarily linked to prolonged exposure to sick birds. However, recent developments in Poland have raised concerns about a potential mutation of the virus. More than two dozen cats in the country have been confirmed to be infected, raising the possibility that the virus could spread more easily among animals that humans frequently interact with. 

This, in turn, could increase the risk of human contraction and transmission. The European Food Safety Authority has described the current outbreak as the largest ever observed in Europe, highlighting the severity and scale of the epidemic.

Four New Detections Of Bird Flu In The UK

In response to the human cases, a spokesperson from the U.K. The Health Security Agency has reported a total of four detections through the initiative, which was launched in March. The purpose of this initiative is to identify potential animal-to-human diseases in individuals who have been exposed to diseased birds.

According to the agency, as of July 10, 2023, a total of 144 individuals from the eight problematic locations have been evaluated. This evaluation was made possible due to the enhanced surveillance of poultry workers.

Meera Chand, the Deputy Director of UKHSA, explains that the avian influenza viruses currently circulating in birds worldwide do not easily transmit to humans. However, it is known that the bird flu virus can infect humans through close contact with infected birds. Surveillance programs like this one enable us to monitor those who have been exposed and gain a better understanding of the associated risks.

By implementing this initiative, the U.K. The Health Security Agency aims to proactively address the potential threats posed by animal-to-human diseases. Through increased surveillance and evaluation of poultry workers, they are able to identify and track individuals who may have been exposed to avian influenza viruses. This not only helps protect public health but also provides valuable insights into the transmission and hazards associated with these diseases.

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2 More Poultry Workers Tested Positive For Bird Flu

In the United Kingdom, two additional poultry workers have recently been confirmed positive for the H5N1 bird flu strain. This development comes as part of an ongoing asymptomatic testing program conducted by the British government.

According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), these two workers had come into contact with infected birds at two separate locations in England. This news follows the identification of two previous cases among workers in May, who have since tested negative. It is important to note that the UKHSA has determined that these cases are not connected.

The comprehensive testing program implemented by the UKHSA encompasses various individuals, including farm staff, personnel involved in culling operations, veterinarians, and other health and safety staff.

Efforts to combat the spread of avian influenza remain a top priority for the UK government. By proactively conducting asymptomatic testing, the UKHSA aims to swiftly identify and isolate any potential cases, thereby minimizing the risk of transmission within the poultry industry and safeguarding public health.

The UKHSA continues to closely monitor the situation and collaborate with relevant stakeholders to ensure the effective management of this ongoing challenge.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.