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No need to worry about catching avian flu says expert (updated)

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People do not need to worry about catching bird flu as doing so is extremely rare, a state expert said on Monday after two incidents of the disease were found at the weekend.

It is rare for humans to become infected with avian flu or to infect each other with it, and most people don’t need to worry about getting sick from this particular virus, Linos Hadjihannas said, speaking to CyBC radio.

No cases in humans of avian flu have ever been reported in Cyprus, Hadjihannas added.

Infected birds have been found through, he said, including recently at two aquatic bird collections in Famagusta.

Assistant Director of State Veterinary Services Yiannos Ioannou said that authorities were not concerned over the identification of cases of bird flu in the private bird collections in Famagusta, as these birds were not to be bought or sold. The birds will be euthanised on Tuesday, he said.

Additionally, an epidemiological sampling will be undertaken by state services in a 3km radius around the location where the infected bird were kept to track any spread of the disease.

All the relevant authorities have been informed and protocols are in place, Hadjihannsa said for managing cases detected in poultry farms as well as in populations of birds kept as pets.

Those handling infected birds are the ones possibly at risk of catching the virus, however, this too is rare. The illness manifests similarly to the H1N1 flu virus, and, like flu, severity of symptoms depends on the infected person’s age and state of health.

Hadjihannas recommended getting vaccinated for flu as it partially protects against avian flu as well.

According to the NHS website, it is not possible to catch bird flu through eating fully cooked poultry or eggs, even in areas with an outbreak of bird flu.

Assistant Director of State Veterinary Services Yiannos Ioannou said that authorities were not concerned over the identification of cases of bird flu in the private bird collections in Famagusta, as these birds were not to be bought or sold. The birds will be euthanised on Tuesday, he said.

Additionally, an epidemiological sampling will be undertaken by state services in a 3km radius around the location where the infected bird were kept to track any spread of the disease.

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