A WORKER who tested positive for bird flu reportedly traveled to Scotland and risked creating a “new pandemic”.
Experts have warned the poultry worker, who was traveling north of the border, should have been isolating while awaiting test results.
According to the online mailGovernment health officials contacted the workers after finding they had tested positive – and later found one of them was in Scotland.
They then contacted their colleagues at Public Health Scotland, who located the worker for another test, told him to self-isolate and located their close contacts.
John Fulton, a pharmaceutical industry consultant and founder of BioNiagara, urged all authorities to “take every precaution available” when it comes to the deadly virus.
He told the Mail: “Every worker should exercise extreme caution through isolation pending their test results.”
“Covid started with a case in Wuhan.
“The ability of bird flu to spread from person to person is becoming increasingly likely.
“Pandemics appear almost out of nowhere, randomly and under blue skies.
“But right now the situation is more like a lottery in favor of a new pandemic.”
Fears over the spread of the virus in mammals, including otters and foxes in the UK, have increased in recent months.
Cases of the virus in birds are at record levels worldwide, and some experts fear transmission to other animals could increase the likelihood of human infection.
According to expert Professor Richard Webby, the H5N1 strain would need three main categories of genetic changes for bird flu to spread to humans.
Currently, the disease has made any of these changes and there is no evidence of “human-to-human transmission.”
However, he urged people to be as careful as possible and not to travel if they tested positive for the virus.
He said: “It’s still not a good idea to travel or go to work if you have or are exposed to the flu.”
“If the tribe evolved human-to-human transmission, it would have been pretty disastrous.
“It would be wise to avoid contact with other people when exposed to H5N1.”
Experts recently warned that bird flu could become the “next human pandemic,” saying politicians are “paying no attention” to the disease.
Devi Sridhar, Chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, urged politicians to act now, before the “next human pandemic”.
writing for The guard This week she explained: “The risk of Distribution among mammals is ubiquitous. A new research preprint from Canada showed that H5N1 samples can spread efficiently between ferrets, which can lead to fatal outcomes.”
She added: “Right now, H5N1 poses a theoretical risk for the next human pandemic and does not require an urgent response today.”
“And a prime minister or health minister might say, ‘Why prepare for something that might never happen?’
“For those of us scientists working in global health, there are enough worrying signals that action should already be taken.”
The Mail reported that all those potentially at risk in Scotland have been contacted by health authorities.
It is currently unclear how those who tested positive for the virus contracted the disease.
At that time, two avian flu zones were established in England – one at Cantley in South Yorkshire and the other at Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.
In order to limit the movement of the affected poultry, all birds were killed and a 3 km long protection zone was established.
And all staff exposed to the virus have had tests similar to Covid-19 tests, following official protocol.
The swabs were sent to a specialist laboratory for testing – which can take several days – and there were no restrictions on their movement.
While they were waiting for the results, one person traveled to Scotland.
Currently, rules in the UK state that anyone potentially exposed to the virus must contact public health authorities if they show symptoms of flu in the following 10 days.
Professor Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at the UK’s Health Security Agency, said: “Current evidence suggests that the avian influenza viruses that we are seeing circulating in birds around the world are not easily transmissible to humans.”
“However, we already know that the virus can spread to people who have close contact with infected birds, and so with screening programs like this we monitor people who have been exposed to the virus to learn more about this risk. “
“Globally, there is no evidence of human-to-human spread of this strain, but we know that viruses are constantly evolving and we remain vigilant for any indication of a change in risk to the population.”
“It remains important that people avoid touching sick or dead birds and that they follow DEFRA advice on reporting.”
Public Health Scotland was contacted for comment.
We pay for your stories and videos! Do you have a story or video for The Scottish Sun? Email us at email@example.com or call 0141 420 5200