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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Tests for Lateral Flow Being Developed for Avian Flu Outbreaks in UK

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is also performing blood tests to find antibodies that are specific to the virus

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UNITED KINGDOM: In case there are indications that the avian flu is starting to spread from one person to another, British health authorities are making plans to use lateral flow tests. The program would deliver quick details regarding the disease’s risks.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is also performing blood tests to find antibodies that are specific to the virus. Officials will also look at how the illness’s genes have changed to learn more about the increased risk of avian flu to human health.

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The actions follow last week’s reports that an 11-year-old Cambodian girl had died from the H5N1 flu strain, which is contaminating poultry farms and travelling the globe via migratory birds.

Now, researchers are trying to find out if the Cambodian case was caused by infected birds or if it was passed from person to person.

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Even though scientists say to be careful, there is currently evidence that the H5N1 virus does not spread easily to humans.

Dr. Meera Chand, who is the UKHSA’s incident director for avian influenza, said, “Viruses change all the time, and we keep an eye out for any signs that the risk to the population is changing.”

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Professor Ian Brown of the Animal and Plant Health Agency supported this assertion. Since 1996, there have been more than 850 human instances worldwide, with a high case-fatality rate.

Scientists also issued a warning last week, advising people to wash their hands after feeding wild birds, even though there were minimal direct risks of infection from coming into contact with sick or deceased wild birds in public spaces like parks or waterways.

The UKHSA said last week that it had found cases of avian flu in 656 wild birds and livestock at 145 different places in England. Since December 2022, this is an increase of 15 new places and 209 new wild bird detections.

Also, 14 of the 134 wild animals that have been caught since October 2021 have been found to have avian flu. Four of these animals were foxes in England, and one was in Wales. Scotland had four reports of otters, four reports of seals, and one report of a fox.

Also Read: Centre Issues Advisory To States on Tomato Flu


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