Bird flu outbreak warning: UK travellers warned over NEW strain – signs and symptoms

Bird flu, or avian flu, is an infection type of flu that usually spreads among birds, according to the NHS. But, on rare occasions, the virus can also infect humans, leading to some deadly symptoms and complications. No humans have ever become infected with any of the most common types of bird flu in the UK. But, Public Health England (PHE) has issued a warning for travellers after a new bird flu virus strain has been reported in humans for the first time.

A case of H7N4 bird flu has been reported in a human for the first time, it’s been revealed.

A 68-year-old woman was admitted to hospital in China after developing symptoms, before the diagnosis was confirmed.

She had been in contact with live poultry before her symptoms first appeared, according to the Hong Kong Department of Health.

The H7N4 virus was confirmed for the first time between February 10 and 14, it added.

“Based on the seasonal pattern, the activity of avian influenza viruses is expected to be higher in winter,” said a spokesman for The Centre for Health Protection in Hong Kong.

“Travellers to the [Chinese] mainland or other affected areas must avoid visiting wet markets, live poultry markets or farms.

“They should also avoid purchasing live or freshly slaughtered poultry, and avoid touching poultry/birds or their droppings.

“They should strictly observe personal and hand hygiene when visiting any place with live poultry.”

All UK travellers to China should speak to a doctor straight away if they develop any bird flu symptoms, urged PHE.

The most common warning signs to look out for include a high fever, of over 38 degrees Celsius, difficulty breathing, and a bad cough.

It’s unlikely your symptoms are caused by bird flu unless you visited live bird or animal markets while in China, or touched any dying birds.

Travellers planning a visit to China should take preventative measures to avoid bird flu symptoms, it added.

The best way to avoid the infection is to steer clear of any poultry farms or animal markets while in China.

It’s also important to avoid contact with animal waste, or any untreated bird feathers, added PHE.

Make sure that all poultry, egg or duck meals are cooked all the way through and don’t touch any dead, or dying birds.

While spending time in China, you should also make sure you wash your hands regularly with warm, soapy water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitisers.


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