First death due to Bird Flu has been reported in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. A 12-year-old boy who was undergoing treatment for H5N1 Avian influenza died at its pediatrics department. The entire staff at AIIMS, New Delhi, has been placed in isolation as a preventative measure.
How the patient was detected positive for H5N1
While undergoing treatment, tests for COVID-19 and influenza were conducted. The boy’s samples tested negative for COVID-19. But the sample came out positive for influenza but was non-typable. It was sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune, where the Institute confirmed it to be positive for H5N1 avian influenza.
Details of the case have been forwarded to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the team has started contact tracing and to see if there are any more cases with similar symptoms with whom the child has come in contact.
Also Read: Bird flu outbreak in Delhi and Maharashtra
Staffs in Contact with the Patient Are Advised to Isolate
AIIMS official said that-
“The 12-year-old boy being treated at the hospital’s D5 ward was found to be infected with H5N1 (Avian flu) after the diagnosis. The boy was suffering from leukemia and pneumonia. He was under treatment and admitted to the ICU of AIIMS in Delhi.”
Further adding they said that-
“All staff who had exposure to him should monitor themselves for any signs and symptoms of flu and should report if any are present.”
Bird Flu Outbreak in India
Bird flu outbreaks were reported across the country earlier this year, including in Haryana where experts detected the H5N8 subtype of the Avian Influenza virus. The central government had raised an alert when cases of bird flu were confirmed in Delhi and at least ten states, including Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Haryana.
Culling of birds was carried out in large numbers across the country in a bid to counter and to prevent the spread of infection.
About H5N1 Avian Influenza
H5N1 stands for Highly Pathogenic Asian Avian Influenza (H5N1) Virus. Avian influenza is a strain of the influenza virus that primarily infects birds, but can also infect humans. This type of flu is most often contracted by contact with sick birds. It can also be passed from person to person.
According to WHO, human cases of H5N1 are rare but if infected, the mortality rate is about 60%. The experts believe that the virus does not infect humans easily, and spreads from person to person appears to be unusual.
Causes of the Influenza
Almost all cases of H5N1 infection in people have been associated with close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments. Infected birds shed avian influenza virus in their saliva, mucous and faeces. Human infections with bird flu viruses can happen when enough viruses get into a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or are inhaled.