Public Health Scotland (PHS) has supported UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) with their asymptomatic testing programme of poultry workers involved in avian influenza A(H5) incidents. PHS has worked with UKHSA to ensure that any detections are appropriately followed up in any individuals in Scotland.

UKHSA has announced detections of avian influenza A(H5) in two poultry workers. UKHSA promptly informed us that one of these individuals was in Scotland at the time at which the detection was reported. This person did not have any symptoms of avian influenza and the individual was managed as an asymptomatic infection on a precautionary basis. Shortly after arriving in Scotland, the individual tested negative and returned to England. Appropriate actions around case management, contact tracing and confirmatory testing were taken.

The latest evidence suggests avian influenza viruses do not currently spread easily to people. However, as viruses constantly evolve, we remain vigilant for any evidence of changing risk to the population. There is no evidence of spread of this strain from person to person and the risk to the public remains very low.

We would advise people to avoid direct contact with sick or dead wild birds in public areas such as beaches or parks and recommend washing hands after feeding wild birds.

The UKHSA news item on their detection of avian flu can be read here.

Last updated: 18 May 2023