Warning signs of bird flu as avian illness as disease spreads in UK

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The last two years have seen the world become engulfed in the coronavirus pandemic.

This week however also saw the first case of a human becoming infected with bird flu in the South West of England in a major new outbreak.

The virus normally shows up in birds but can also spread to humans, with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) setting up a prevention zone to protect against avian flu spreading in Britain, the Daily Mirror reports.

The news comes after reports of cases amongst wild UK birds.

In November, a flock of poultry near Dundee in Scotland were culled following an outbreak of avian flu.

Several days before that, in Wrexham, North Wales, cases were found in both wild birds and poultry, while a case was detected in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire.

However, the government insist that the risk to public health is low, saying: “Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat."

What are the symptoms of bird flu in humans?

Bird flu is a form of influenza that has the capacity to affect humans.

According to the NHS, bird flu can spread to humans by touching infected birds, touching droppings or bedding, or killing or cooking infected birds.

If you do suspect you might have bird flu, the NHS says that the common symptoms include:

  • A very high temperature or feeling hot or shivery
  • Aching muscles
  • Headache
  • A cough or shortness of breath

Other symptoms associated with it are:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Sickness
  • Stomach pain
  • Chest pain
  • Bleeding from the nose and gums
  • Conjunctivitis

What does the new prevention zone involve?

The new protection zone introduced by the Defra will see all bird keepers have to follow strict bio security measures in order to help prevent it spreading into their flocks.

Owners of larger flocks will be forced to limit access to their enclosures to only vital staff, who will have to change their clothing when entering from Wednesday.

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A variety of other measures such as disinfecting site vehicles and removing wild bird feeds that are close to enclosures are also being introduced.

The chief veterinary officers of England, Scotland and Wales said: “Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to introduce higher bio security standards on your farm or smallholding."

  • NHS
  • Animals

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