Can humans get bird flu? See symptoms and NHS advice

The move comes after several confirmed cases of bird flu in the UK in recent weeks.

Wild birds currently migrating from the mainland to the UK Europe As they do during the winter which has raised concerns over a potential increase in avian influenza.

Read more: Bird flu 2021 outbreak: New rules apply to the whole of Britain

The four UK Chief Veterinary Officers issued a joint statement, writing: “We have taken prompt action to limit the spread of the disease and it is now for all poultry and captive birders to keep or otherwise isolate their birds.” We are planning to introduce a legal requirement for wild birds.

“Whether you keep only a few birds or thousands, starting Monday, November 29, you must legally keep your birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

“We have not taken this decision lightly, taking action now is the best way to protect our birds from this highly contagious disease.”

Can humans get bird flu?

Bird flu can affect humans but it depends on the strain of the virus, the NHS has said.

According to public health advice, there is little risk to human health and food safety risks from avian influenza.

Most strains aren’t actually harmful to people, but there are four that have raised concern in recent years:

  • H5N1 (since 1997)
  • H7N9 (since 2013)
  • H5N6 (since 2014)
  • H5N8 (since 2016)

No humans in the UK have been infected with H5N1, H7N9, H5N6 or H5N8 bird flu, including the type H5N6 virus recently found in humans in China.

The strains of bird flu found in some poultry, other captive birds and wild birds in the UK are the H5N8 and H5N1 types.

H5N6 has also been found in some wild birds in the UK, but it is important to note that this is a different variant from the one seen in China.

Bird flu is transmitted to humans by:

  • touching infected birds
  • touching drops or bedding
  • killing or preparing infected poultry for cooking

You also cannot catch bird flu from eating fully cooked poultry or eggs, even if you are in an outbreak area.

How to protect yourself from getting hit by bird flu

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from bird flu and give you peace of mind:

  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap, especially before and after handling food, especially raw poultry
  • Use different utensils for cooked and raw meat
  • Make sure the meat is cooked until hot
  • Avoid contact with live birds and poultry

bird flu symptoms

The NHS states that bird flu symptoms can appear fairly quickly, usually within 3 to 5 days of being infected.

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • very high temperature or feeling hot or shivering
  • muscle pain
  • Headache
  • cough or shortness of breath
  • Other early symptoms may include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Disease
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain in chest
  • nose and gum bleeding
  • Conjunctivitis

The NHS says it is possible to develop more serious complications, including pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

To prevent complications and reduce the risk of developing serious illness, it recommends getting treatment early and using antiviral medication.

For more information and NHS advice about bird flu, Visit the NHS website.

can keep up to date with you Latest Government Guidance on Bird Flu through its website.

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