An 11-year-old boy died of H5N1 bird flu on Tuesday, making it the first recorded death from bird flu in India this year.
An AIIMS official stated that the boy was hospitalized on July 2 and that he died on Tuesday. The official added that all personnel who have been in contact with the patient are in isolation.
Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease caused by influenza type A viruses that generally affects poultry such as chickens and turkeys. It does not spread to people easily. People who have been in close contact with infected birds, dead or alive, can contract the H5N1 flu, but it usually doesn’t spread from person to person, according to the WHO. The WHO has also pointed out that there is no evidence that the virus spreads through properly prepared and cooked poultry, as the virus is sensitive to heat and dies at cooking temperatures. However, it can be fatal if it infects humans, with a death rate of nearly 60%.
Earlier this year in January, the death of a large number of birds in various parts of the country had raised the avian flu alert and the virus was found in birds in Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana and Maharashtra. Samples from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Kerala tested positive for the A (H5N8) strain of the virus, while samples from Himachal Pradesh tested positive for A (H5N1).