…By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has reported the detection of bird flu in two poultry workers in England.
However, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission, according to the UKHSA.
Detection and Lack of Symptoms:
Both cases of bird flu in the poultry workers have not exhibited any symptoms of avian influenza, and subsequent tests have confirmed their negative status, as confirmed by the UKHSA.
This lack of symptoms suggests that the infection may have occurred through exposure rather than true transmission.
Risk to Human Health:
Health officials stress that the detection of bird flu in these individuals does not alter the overall level of risk to human health.
The risk remains very low for the general population, indicating that there is no immediate cause for concern.
Difficulty in Distinguishing Infection:
Avian flu infection can occur through contamination of the nose and throat from inhaling material present on affected farms.
It can be challenging to differentiate between contamination and true infection in individuals who do not exhibit any symptoms.
Limited Human Transmission:
Since its emergence in 1996, there have been only rare and non-sustained cases of bird flu transmission between humans.
The number of recorded avian flu cases in mammals since October 2021 stands at 131, underscoring the infrequency of such cases.
Analysis and Expert Opinion:
Professor Susan Hopkins, the Chief Medical Advisor at UKHSA, highlights the current understanding that avian influenza viruses do not easily spread from birds to humans.
However, she acknowledges that the virus can transmit to humans through close contact with infected birds.
Screening programs are implemented to monitor individuals exposed to the virus and gather further information about the associated risks.
Global Perspective and Vigilance:
Although there is currently no evidence of person-to-person transmission of this strain of bird flu globally, experts remain watchful for any indications of changing risks to the population.
The continuous evolution of viruses necessitates ongoing vigilance in monitoring their behavior and potential impacts.
It is crucial for individuals to adhere to the advice provided by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), which includes avoiding contact with sick or dead birds and promptly reporting any concerns.
The recent detection of bird flu in two poultry workers in England has raised awareness, but the lack of symptoms and absence of human-to-human transmission provide reassurance that the risk to human health remains minimal.
Continued monitoring and adherence to preventive measures are vital in managing and mitigating the potential spread of avian flu.