The entire staff at AIIMS, Delhi, has been placed in isolation as a preventative measure after a 12-year-old boy undergoing treatment for H5N1 Avian influenza died
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi today recorded the first bird flu death in the country for this year after a 12-year-old boy undergoing treatment for H5N1 Avian influenza died at its pediatric department.
The entire staff at AIIMS, New Delhi, has been placed in isolation as a preventative measure.
Speaking to news agency ANI, AIIMS officials said, “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.”
“All staff who had exposure to him should monitor themselves for any signs and symptoms of flu and should report if any are present,” they added.
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. This strain is not known to infect humans.
The central government had sounded 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 the spread of infection.
What is Avian influenza?
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 the World Health Organisation (WHO), human cases of H5N1 are rare but if infected, the mortality rate is about 60%.
H5N1 stands for Highly Pathogenic Asian Avian Influenza (H5N1) Virus. The H5N1 virus can cause severe flu with a high mortality rate.
Bird flu is caused by a type of influenza virus that rarely infects humans.
Almost all cases of H5N1 infection in people have been associated with close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments.
The experts believe that the virus does not infect humans easily, and spreads from person to person appears to be unusual.
Infected birds shed avian influenza virus in their saliva, mucous and feces. Human infections with bird flu viruses can happen when enough virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled.