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FHM is tracking avian influenza in humans: ‘Watch out’

FHM is tracking avian influenza in humans: ‘Watch out’

The European Agency for Infection Control and the Public Health Agency are currently taking additional samples for the avian influenza virus in humans. The reason is that the World Health Organization warned this week that bird flu is beginning to spread to mammals, which increases the risk of the virus mutating and starting to infect humans.

The fact that the animals closest to humans are now infected means we need to pay more attention. That’s why we’re testing slightly more people with flu symptoms than usual, says Amy Anderson, FHM’s chief medical officer and researcher.

At the moment, no indications have been seen that the virus will spread more easily between or among people.

Keep pets on a leash

To become infected, close contact with sick or dead animals, usually birds, is required. To date, there are no known cases of bird flu in humans in Sweden.

In affected areas of Sweden, the Swedish Veterinary Institute, SVA, has urged residents to keep pets on a leash so they do not come into contact with infected birds.

Dogs and cats can become seriously ill from bird flu. It is unusual for them to become infected and it is rare for a pet to infect the master or mistress. That can’t be ruled out, says Cecilia Holten, an SVA veterinary epidemiologist.

There have been no reports of bird flu being transmitted through bathing water

It says the laughing gull and seabirds are mainly affected in Sweden. But neither Cecila Holten nor Amy Anderson thinks there is any danger in swimming in a lake with seabirds or eating in an open-air restaurant with seagulls.

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There are no reports of bird flu being transmitted through shower water, but you should not shower where there are dead birds, says Amy Anderson.

Watch the clip about what symptoms to look out for.