Birds keepers urged to remain vigilant after first case of bird flu transmission to people

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Photo by Alice Miller
Photo by Alice Miller

Following the first confirmed case of bird flu in a human, in the south west of England, the UK Health Security Agency is reminding people to remain vigilant.

The agency said: “Bird-to-human transmission of avian flu is very rare and has previously only occurred a small number of times in the UK.

“The 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.

“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 agency has warned people not to touch sick or dead birds, and whilst there have been outbreaks of avian influenza, the risk of transmission to humans and human to human transmission was ‘extremely rare’.

DEFRA says all bird keepers (whether you have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) must keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity at all times. If you have any concerns about the health of your birds, seek prompt advice from a vet.

Even poultry kept as pets should be registered so that owners can be contacted during an outbreak. This is a legal requirement if you have more than 50 birds.

Owners can sign up for alerts on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apha-alert-subscription-service

By Faith Eckersall

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