Confirmation Of Avian Influenza H7N2 Infection

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Avian Influenza Infection

The Health Protection Agency is providing expert support and advice after an H7N2 avian influenza infection was found in birds on a small farm in north Wales.

The Agency has carried out tests on specimens from nine people associated with the incident; seven are from Wales and two were from north west England.

Four of the test results were positive - two of these were from Wales and two were from north west England.The remaining five test results came back as negative. However because these five cases were associated with the birds and had a compatible illness, they are being treated as a precaution.

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H7N2 is a low pathogenic strain of avian flu. It is different to the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain currently circulating in South East Asia, and in Europe last year. In almost all human cases to date, H7N2 infection has generally been associated with a mild disease. The risk to the general public is considered to be very low.

Pat Troop, Chief Executive of the Health Protection Agency said: "As a routine precaution, we have tested those who were associated with the infected or dead birds and reported flu-like symptoms. We tested samples from nine people in our laboratories and confirmed infection in four.

"These test results confirm that human infection with the avian flu virus has occurred. The cases so far have been associated with the infected birds. "It is important to remember that H7N2 avian flu remains largely a disease of birds.

The virus does not transmit easily to humans. Worldwide, almost all human H7N2 infections documented so far, including those associated with this most recent incident, have been associated with infected poultry.

Three of the nine individuals were initially hospitalised. They have all, however, now been discharged.

The National Public Health Service for Wales and HPA North West is tracing and following up all close contacts of the individuals who have been ill as a precautionary measure.

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