The United Kingdom Health The Safety Agency (UKHSA) said it had detected the influenza A (H5) virus in two employees in England, but there were no signs of person-to-person transmission.

It follows the introduction of an asymptomatic testing program for people who have been in contact with infected birds.

A highly pathogenic variant of H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI) has killed tens of thousands of wild birds across the UK over the past two years.

The two people who tested positive are known to have recently worked on an infected poultry farm in England.

Neither has experienced any symptoms of bird flu and both have since tested negative.

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The UKHSA said that based on the timing of the exposures and test results, it is likely that one individual had contamination of the nose or throat from material inhaled on the farm, while for the second individual it is more difficult to determine. what is the case

Further investigation is ongoing, but in the meantime, preventative contact tracing has been conducted for this second individual, according to the statement.

Professor Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s chief medical adviser, said it was crucial that the public not touch dead birds.

“Current evidence suggests that the avian influenza viruses that we are seeing circulating in birds around the world it doesn’t spread easily to people,” he said.

“However, we already know that the virus can spread to people after close contact with infected birds and that is why, through screening programs like this one, we are monitoring people who have been exposed to learn more about it. this risk.

“Globally, there is no evidence of person-to-person spread of this strain, but we know that viruses evolve all the time and we remain vigilant for any evidence of changing risk to the population.

“It remains critical that people avoid handling sick or dead birds, and follow Defra’s advice on reporting.”

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