The new cases and one fatality from bird flu documented in Cambodia recently are causing many to worry about a potential pandemic following the COVID-19 global health crisis. But experts are not worried. Instead, they anticipate the worst-case scenario and prepare for it ahead.

U.K. health experts revealed via the BBC this week the steps they’ve been taking to prevent the worst thing that could happen from the ongoing avian flu outbreak. The U.K. Health Security Agency is already working on models to predict how many are likely to get infected or sick from the virus.

Health authorities are also evaluating whether lateral flow tests or blood tests would be helpful. In addition, after observing what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are now studying genetic mutations that could make the virus more dangerous to human health.

When the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, no suitable vaccines were available to fight the novel coronavirus. Scientists had to rush developing vaccines for the disease. For bird flu, health experts already have several good candidates that might help in case another pandemic happens.

One expert told the BBC that they are preparing “for the worst” at this point even if the human transmission is rare or unlikely. So far, cases of humans getting sick from avian influenza were caused by direct contact with infected birds. There’s still no trace of human-to-human transmission.

On Thursday, an 11-year-old girl from Cambodia reportedly died from a bird flu infection about a week after contracting the virus. Local health authorities have warned residents against touching dead and sick birds near the girl’s residence.

The girl was the country’s first known human H5N1 infection since 2014. Cambodia had 56 cases of human infection from 2003 to 2014, and 37 of them were fatal. The country is currently monitoring a few infections, including the girl’s father.

Historically, the bird flu virus has infected hundreds of people across the globe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of 240 cases had been recorded since January 2003; 135 were fatal, suggesting a 56% case fatality rate.

Based on its track record, the virus is not very good at infecting people. It is incapable of binding to cells in human respiratory tracts very effectively, according to Treana Mayer, a postdoctoral fellow in microbiology at Colorado State University. But this does not mean we should be complacent.

The virus may have a low risk to the general public at present, but active monitoring is a must to detect the first signs of a viral spillover from animals to humans and prevent what could be a large outbreak, like what happened to Covid. Mayer urged policymakers to take steps such as preserving nature, keeping wildlife separate from livestock and improving early detection of rare infections from animals.