Jan. 6 (UPI) — A person in southwest England has contracted a case of bird flu transmitted by exposure to diseased animals, the country’s health authority confirmed Thursday.
The UK Health Security Agency said the animal-to-human transmission of bird flu “is very rare and has previously only occurred a small number of times” in that jurisdiction.
As per normal protocol, the UKHSA has alerted the World Health Organization about the case.
The infected person was in “very close, regular contact with a large number of infected birds, which they kept in and around their home,” according to the agency.
The agency also said it has not been possible to identify whether the individual is infected with the H5N1 strain of the influenza.
The United Kingdom has recently seen a large number of outbreaks of the H5N1 strain in birds across the country.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency and Britain’s Chief Veterinary Officer have issued alerts to bird owners across the country.
The case was detected after the APHA identified an outbreak of the H5N1 strain in the infected person’s flock of birds.
While the risk of avian flu to the general public is very low, we know that some strains have the potential to spread to humans and that’s why we have robust systems in place to detect these early and take action,” said UKHSA Chief Scientific Officer Isabel Oliver.
“Currently there is no evidence that this strain detected in the UK can spread from person to person, but we know that viruses evolve all the time and we continue to monitor the situation closely. We have followed up all of this individual’s contacts and have not identified any onward spread.”
The infected person is self-isolating and is suffering from minor flu-like symptoms. The health agency is also following up with anyone who was in close contact with the individual.