UK’s bird flu fears laid bare as death risk to humans unveiled

What is Bird Flu?

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Bird flu could become better adapted to mammals and spill over to other animals and even humans. This is the warning of experts from the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), who have raised particular concern over recent infections in mink farms. The close proximity of the animals in these settings, they warned, exacerbates the risk of new strains and subtypes evolving that are more harmful to humans and other animals. At present, thankfully, bird flu strains like H5N1 — which is behind the current outbreaks — do not infect humans easily. However, in the rare cases that they do, they can have mortality rates as high as 50 percent.

In a statement, a WOAH spokesperson said: “The current avian influenza situation has been raising concerns within the international community.

“Since October 2021, an unprecedented number of outbreaks have been reported in several regions of the world, reaching new geographical areas and causing devastating impacts on animal health and welfare.

“The disease puts at risk global food security and the livelihoods of those who depend on poultry farming.

“It has also led to an alarming rate of wild bird die-offs and has affected other wildlife including sea and land mammals.”

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