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The UK has witnessed an unprecedented increase in cases of bird flu …

Among domestic and wild birds, UK officials say the incidence of bird flu has risen to an all-time high since the start of the season, which has led to tougher controls on poultry farmers across the country.

The government has confirmed 40 outbreaks of bird flu among poultry and other captive birds this year, resulting in the extinction of about 500,000 birds, Chief Veterinarian Christine Middlemis said Thursday. There were 24 outbreaks in the 2020-21 bird flu season, which occurred in the spring.

“I’m very worried about what’s happening,” Middlemis told the BBC. “For anything we’ve experienced before, it’s a very high number at this time of year, and it’s a major cause of infection in wild migratory birds.

UK authorities are watching bird flu around the world because it is spread by migratory birds and can wreak havoc on poultry producers. Experts estimate that the eruptions of the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons will cost UK poultry producers around 125 125 million ($ 165 million).

Although the risk to humans is low, bird flu can rarely infect people.

To control the spread of the disease, poultry producers must kill all birds that have been confirmed infected. In addition, all birds should be kept under or under nets to prevent contact with wild birds and to carry out strict hygiene measures.

Although the number of birds slaughtered so far this season appears to be large, it is relatively small compared to the number of birds on UK farms. According to the latest government figures, from early August to the end of October, poultry producers killed about 20 million birds a week.

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“In terms of the impact on the food supply, this is actually a relatively small number,” Middlemis said of the flu-related deaths.

The situation in Britain is part of a larger trend in Europe, where officials find frequent outbreaks of bird flu, Middlemis said.

Although the reasons for this trend are not known to researchers, one theory is that climate change has changed the migratory patterns of wild birds, he said.

“Birds migrate to northern Russia in the summer and exchange viruses with other birds and other global airlines there, so with climate change and path changes, different combinations are more likely to occur,” Middlemis said. . “But this has not yet been fully investigated.”