In mid-May, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) the detection of avian influenza A(H5) virus in a poultry worker at a farm in England where poultry was infected with high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) viruses.
Another detection was reported in a second individual performing culling operations on the farm. Both detections were later confirmed by additional testing as A(H5N1). Both cases were asymptomatic and detected as part of an ongoing enhanced surveillance study of asymptomatic workers exposed to poultry infected with avian influenza.
All the workers at this farm and their contacts have been identified; none of the contacts have reported symptoms, and no other influenza cases have been identified. The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has not detected evidence of human-to-human transmission.
Based on the available information, WHO considers these as sporadic detections of avian influenza viruses among humans with no evidence of person-to-person transmission to date. Thus, the likelihood of international disease spread through humans is considered to be low.
Given the widespread circulation in birds and the constantly evolving nature of influenza viruses, WHO stresses the importance of global surveillance to detect virological, epidemiological and clinical changes associated with circulating influenza viruses which may affect human (or animal) health.