‘Very Rare’ Human Case of Bird Flu Detected in Southwest England

The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) detected a “very rare” case of bird flu in a person in southwest England amid a large number of recent outbreaks and incidents.

UKHSA said on Jan. 6 that the person got infected from “very close, regular contact” with a large number of infected birds that they kept around their home over a long period of time.

“Some strains of bird flu can pass from birds to people, but this is extremely rare. It usually requires close contact with an infected bird,” UKHSA said.

According to laboratory analysis, the infected person showed low levels of flu and had the “H5” virus strain found in birds.

UKHSA said it was the first human case of the strain in the UK.

UKHSA also said that it has yet to confirm at this point if the case was an H5N1 infection, the strain that is currently circulating in birds across the country.

The infected individual is currently “well” and is self-isolating and officials have traced close contacts, according to UKHSA.

While the UKHSA said that there was no evidence of onward spread of infection to other humans and that the risk continued to be “very low,” they warned people not to touch sick or dead birds.

“We took swift action to limit the spread of the disease at the site in question. All infected birds have been humanely culled, and cleansing and disinfection of the premises is underway. This is a reminder that stringent cleanliness when keeping animals is important,” UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said.

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