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UK officials have confirmed that someone in the southwest of England has caught the bird flu that has been terrorizing bird populations. He is currently self-isolating to prevent spreading it to others.

A person contracting bird flu is incredibly rare but can happen if they have prolonged close contact with a sick bird. The 79-year-old man who contracted it is named Alan Gosling and lives with around twenty ducks in his home, and 100 outside. The birds started falling ill at the end of December and died or were killed to contain the spread shortly after. 

Prof Isabel Oliver, chief scientific officer at the UK Health Security Agency, said, “While the risk of avian flu to the general public is very low, we know that some strains do have the potential to spread to humans and that’s why we have robust systems in place to detect these early and take action. Currently, there is no evidence that this strain detected in the UK can spread from person to person, but we know that viruses evolve all the time, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. We have followed up all of this individual’s contacts and have not identified any onward spread.”

Although this news is startling, especially in a time where illness seems to be everywhere you turn, the likelihood of more human cases turning up is very slim, especially if everyone stays safe and avoids contact with birds that could be infected.

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