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Bird Flu: Two new cases detected in poultry workers after contract with infected birds

  • 16 Jul, 2023
  • United Kingdom

According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), two additional cases of bird flu have been identified among poultry workers, who had direct contact with infected birds. These individuals were exposed to the virus at separate locations in England, which had previously reported cases. The detection of avian flu in these workers occurred during tests conducted on asymptomatic individuals, who had been in contact with infected birds. In May, two positive cases were confirmed under the same testing program; however, subsequent tests have shown that these workers no longer carry the virus.

The testing program includes various participants, such as farm staff, personnel involved in culling operations, veterinarians and health and safety staff. Human cases of bird flu can occur as a result of true infection or contamination of the respiratory tract when individuals breathe in materials from affected farms.

The UKHSA stated that the interpretation of the first new detection is challenging due to limited information on sample timing, but it could indicate infection or respiratory tract contamination. The second new detection is likely to be a case of contamination, and precautionary contact tracing has been conducted.

The UKHSA clarified that there is currently no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus. The level of risk to human health has not changed since the initial detection of bird flu, and the overall danger to the general population remains very low.


Q1: Can bird flu spread from person to person?
A1: While rare, limited human-to-human transmission of bird flu has been reported in some cases. However, it usually requires close and prolonged contact with an infected person. Currently, there is no sustained human-to-human transmission of bird flu.

Q2: What are the symptoms of bird flu in humans?

A2: The symptoms of bird flu in humans can vary and range from mild to severe. They typically include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches and respiratory difficulties. In severe cases, complications, such as pneumonia and organ failure may occur.

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