“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places” — Matt 24:7 [Added]

Health chiefs detect UK’s first HUMAN case of deadly bird flu strain in South West England amid fears thousands more animals will have to be culled as ‘biggest ever’ outbreak sweeps country

Footage has emerged of thousands of birds being culled in Lincolnshire in December and there are fears the ongoing bird flu outbreak will mean many more animals will need to be put down
Footage has emerged of thousands of birds being culled in Lincolnshire in December and there are fears the ongoing bird flu outbreak will mean many more animals will need to be put down
  • The person caught bird flu from having close contact with their infected birds which have now been culled
  • Health authorities say the individual is doing well and self-isolating with all their contacts having been traced
  • Experts say risk to public is extremely low but people are being advised to avoid touching sick or dead birds 

By JOHN ELY SENIOR HEALTH REPORTER FOR MAILONLINE and CONNOR BOYD DEPUTY HEALTH EDITOR FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 00:34 AEDT, 7 January 2022 | UPDATED: 06:22 AEDT, 7 January 2022

The first human case of a deadly strain of bird flu in the UK has been detected in a person living in the South West of England as the country faces its largest ever outbreak in animals, health officials have said.   

Britain’s ‘patient zero’ caught the H5N1 virus after ‘very close and regular’ contact with a large number of infected birds which they kept in and around their home, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

It is the first ever human case of H5N1 — which kills up to half of the people it infects — recorded in the UK and fewer than 1,000 people have ever been diagnosed with the strain globally since it emerged in the late 1990s.Clairo Rates Hilary Duff, Criss Angel, and Peppa PigPauseNext video0:00 / 0:00Full-screen

No more details about the individual have been released, but officials said they were in good health and currently in self-isolation. All of the patient’s infected birds have been culled. 

Their close personal contacts, including people who visited the premises, have also been traced and there is ‘no evidence’ of the infection having spread to anyone else, the UKHSA said.

The current H5N1 outbreak is the largest bird flu crisis ever recorded in Britain — with officials saying more than half a million poultry have had to be culled as part of efforts to control the virus. 

Shocking images show thousands of dead chickens being dumped into a truck after an outbreak at Ivy House Farm in Lincolnshire in December, with animals’ rights activists claiming the true death toll has been upwards of 2million over the last few months.

The outbreak has been going on for weeks and sparked fears of a turkey shortage in the run-up to Christmas. 

Dead turkeys are loaded onto a JCB at Redgrave Park Farm, in Redgrave, Suffolk following an outbreak of bird flu at the turkey farm in 2007
Dead turkeys are loaded onto a JCB at Redgrave Park Farm, in Redgrave, Suffolk following an outbreak of bird flu at the turkey farm in 2007

Bird to human transmission of bird flu — also known as avian flu — is rare and has only occurred a small number of times in the UK. However, the public is being urged not to touch sick or dead birds.

Subsequent human-to-human transmission of avian influenza is also rare and the risk of a major outbreak in people is deemed to be even lower.    

But the development comes with fears about infectious pathogens at an all-time high in the UK after two years of the Covid pandemic, reignited by the latest surge in Omicron infections.

A map of bird flu outbreaks in the UK recorded by the Government's Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Map shows: Britain’s 3km protection zones (blue circles) and 3km captive bird zones (dark pink circles) where all visitors, poultry and egg movements must be recorded by farmers and birds must be housed or isolated; 10km surveillance zones (black circles) where all visitors, poultry and egg movements must be recorded by farmers; and 10km restricted zones (light pink circles)

A map of bird flu outbreaks in the UK recorded by the Government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Map shows: Britain’s 3km protection zones (blue circles) and 3km captive bird zones (dark pink circles) where all visitors, poultry and egg movements must be recorded by farmers and birds must be housed or isolated; 10km surveillance zones (black circles) where all visitors, poultry and egg movements must be recorded by farmers; and 10km restricted zones (light pink circles)