Flu Is Affecting Farne Islands

The UK’s National Trust says that an outbreak of bird flu on the Farne Islands in the North Sea has killed over 3,000 wild birds. However, the actual death toll is estimated to be around ten times higher because birds may have fallen into the sea.

In the early 2020s, an ongoing outbreak of avian influenza subtype H5N8 has been occurring at poultry farms and among wild bird populations in several countries and continents, leading to the subsequent cullings of millions of birds to prevent a pandemic similar to that of the H5N1 outbreak in 2008. The first case of human transmission was reported by Russian authorities in February 2021, as several poultry farm workers tested positive for the virus.

Thousands of seabirds have died in an outbreak of avian flu on the Farne Islands in the worst “disaster” to hit the colonies in nearly 100 years. The National Trust, which cares for the islands, has found more than 3,000 dead birds but estimated ten times more may have fallen into the sea. The islands off the Northumberland coast are home to about 200,000 birds. The charity wants an urgent response but the government said it could only take “limited effective actions”.

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