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First human contracts avian flu in the UK

A poultry keeper from the West Country has become the first person in the UK to catch avian flu after they tested positive during routine staff testing at a poultry unit.

The UK Health Security Agency has confirmed the case, explaining that the infected person had been in close, very regular contact with a large number of infected birds.

The UKHSA added that all contacts of the individual had been traced and there was no evidence of any onward spread of the disease. The person was reported to be feeling well and was in self isolation.

The news came as cases continued to emerge. Five new cases have been identified in poultry units in England since the 1 January and there are now more than 70 cases spread across the UK with the latest cases reported in Lincolnshire, Cumbria and Berkshire.

Birds on affected farms will be humanely killed and a three mile protection zone placed around the unit.

Symptoms in humans can range from mild flu-like illness, sometimes with red, sore, discharging eyes, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. There can also be respiratory illness with breathing difficulty and pneumonia.

officials from the UKHSA stressed that there is no cause for public alarm and poultry meat and eggs remain safe to eat.