Three tested for bird flu yield negative results

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Tests for bird flu at a Hampshire farm have brought negative results
Tests for bird flu at a Hampshire farm have brought negative results

Related tags Bird flu Influenza

Three people tested for bird flu at a Hampshire farm returned negative results, Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed.

News emerged that three workers at the farm at Upham had been tested on February 3 after displaying flu-like symptoms. That followed confirmation from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) that bird flu had been identified in chickens at the farm. understands the tests are standard practice after the presence of bird flu is detected and risk of possible exposure identified.

However, the tests returned negative results and it is believed that the individuals concerned simply had contracted colds or a common variety of flu.

In any case, PHE was quick to stress in a statement that the H7 strain of bird flu identified carried a low risk of transmission to humans. H7 is known to be much less severe than the H5N8 strain found at a Yorkshire duck farm in November​.

No link

DEFRA said there was no link between the two cases.

A 1km poultry movement restriction zone had been imposed at the commercial chicken breeding farm and the birds there would be culled according to established procedure, said DEFRA.

“We have taken immediate action to contain this outbreak as part of our robust procedures for dealing swiftly with avian flu,”​ said the government’s chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens.

“This is a low severity form of the virus and we are taking action to ensure that the disease does not spread or develop into a more severe form. We are investigating the possible sources of the outbreak.

‘Be vigilant’

“I would urge poultry keepers in the surrounding area to be vigilant for any signs of disease and to ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises.”

Nick Phin, director of PHE’s Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control, said: “Based on what we know about this strain of avian influenza and the actions that have been taken, the risk to human health in this case is considered very low.”

The Food Standards Agency issued a parallel statement, saying: “On the basis of current scientific evidence, our advice is that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers. This advice follows recent reports about a low severity (H7) case of avian flu at a farm in Hampshire.

“The risk of getting bird flu through the food chain is low. Some strains of avian influenza can pass to humans, but this is very rare. It usually requires very close contact between the human and infected live birds.

“Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.”

Related topics Food Safety Meat, poultry & seafood

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