BBC News world has confirmed the recent outbreak of bird flu in Japan. Samples taken from 3 000 dead chickens revealed that all had been infected with the H5N1 virus. There have been a number of H5N1 outbreaks in Japan since early 2004, but there have been no reported human deaths from the virus. However, Japan is one of the five countries who have put an immediate ban on the importation of poultry from the UK.
Health officials across Asia are on alert as a growing number of countries have reported cases in both birds and humans in recent weeks.
This past weekend saw the official bird flu outbreak in Suffolk, England. According to the Health Protection Agency, a vet who attended the outbreak is in hospital suffering from a mild respiratory ilness. The vet is undergoing tests at Nottinham hospital and his condition "is causing no immediate concern".
The H5N1 strain which has caused dozens of human deaths in Asia, was found in Suffolk. The H5N1 virus does not pose a large-scale threat to humans because it can't easily be transferred from human to human. However, experts fear the virus could mutate at some point in the future and trigger a bird flu pandemic.
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