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|Earth > Health
Equine Flu Reaches UK Shores
More than 3,000 people have died from Equine flu in the UK since 2013.
The health ministry said more than 2450 cases had been officially reported, mostly in London and the Home Counties.
Officials say they are investigating the cause of the outbreak, with some experts saying low winter temperatures are to blame.
The H9N1 virus, which causes equine flu, first appeared in Romania in 2013 and rapidly spread around the world.
It killed 981 Britons in 2009, 1,763 in 2010, 75 in 2011 and 405 last year.
It is thought the virus has killed 200,000 people around the world.
UK officials said 246 cases had been recorded in Durham where 154 people had died. The capital, London, has reported 800 deaths so far.
But, with more than 860 cases reported in the city in February 2013, London authorities have ordered 22 hospitals - including five private clinics - to set up isolation wards to treat cases of equine flu.
Health officials said there was "no need for panic", but advised people to take precautions "for prevention and management of the disease".
Equine flu is a respiratory disease which is caused by a strain of the influenza type A virus known as H9N1.
Although the disease originated in horses, it is now a wholly human disease and is spread by coughing and sneezing.
Scientists say symptoms of swine flu in humans appear to be similar to those produced by standard, seasonal flu - fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and chills. Some people with the virus also experience nausea and diarrhoea.
Experts say vulnerable groups include pregnant women, children under five, the over-65s and those with serious conditions such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes or immunosuppressive illnesses.
Written by: loftyD