New pandemic fears as World Health Organisation issues ‘human bird flu’ warning

A new pandemic fear has been sparked by the World Health Organisation which has issued a grim "human bird flu" warning.

Experts at WHO warned there is potential for a human variant of the vicious bird flu after the strain has made the biological leap from birds to mammals.

New cases of the H5N1 strain have been reported in otters, foxes and mink, with a recent briefing urging nations to take action as the virus takes a step closer to infecting humans.

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WHO's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was on hand to note the change in infection and that nations should prepare "for any change in the status quo".

The virus at present is still of low risk to humans but director-general Ghebreyesus said nations "cannot assume that will remain the case and we must prepare for any change in the status quo".

H5N1 has been detected in humans in the past but those cases were sporadic and closely linked to infected birds, dead or alive, DailyMail reported.

But recent reports of infections in mammals has seen concern for whether mutations to the H5N1 strain could prove to be a global risk.

Major bird flu outbreaks were previously reported in the United States, but the UK also faced off against its own strange strand of avian woes.

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Daily Star previously reported the virus had seen "cannibal chickens" culled after a group of infected birds were put under "surveillance".

An expert at the time had warned that confinement and the spread of the virus could have led to cannibalistic intent in the groups of poultry.

Over 100 cases of bird flu had been confirmed, with each of the potentially cannibalistic birds destroyed by attending officials on a "10km surveillance zone" that cut the infected chickens off from the rest of the world.

WHO reports are currently claiming nations need to take a closer look at how they are preparing for a potential avian flu mutation that could infect humans.

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