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British bird flu confirmed as H5N8

British bird flu confirmed as H5N8
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British health officials have begun killing 6,000 ducks at a breeding farm in East Yorkshire after an outbreak of bird flu.

The strain of the virus has been confirmed as H5N8, the same as that found at a chicken farm in the Netherlands and in Germany. It is not deadly to humans unlike the H5N1 form which kills 60% of people who become infected.

The World Health Organization said the virus may infect a few people, but is highly unlikely to spread amongst humans. There has never previously been a case of human bird flu in northern Europe. The H5N8 strain is however very dangerous for bird life and likely to hit other bird populations in Europe.

EU officials say migratory birds heading south for winter are probably the cause of the outbreak.