Delhi’s AIIMS Reports First Bird Flu Death in 2021.
An 11-year-old boy from Haryana who died today at the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi was infected with the H5N1 virus, which is also called ‘avian influenza’ or ‘bird flu’. This is believed to be the first case of H5N1 among humans in India and the first death from avian influenza this year.
A report from the National Institute of Virology in Pune confirmed the infection.
Sources told the PTI news agency that their samples tested negative for COVID-19 (the tests for which it is now routine in hospitals) but tested positive for influenza and H5N1 was confirmed by NIV.
Staff who came into contact with the boy, identified as Susheel and admitted on July 2 with pneumonia and leukemia, were asked to self-monitor for symptoms and report the possible infection.
A team from the National Center for Disease Control was dispatched to Susheel village in Haryana to check for more H5N1 cases and conduct contact tracing.
Earlier this year, thousands of wild birds were found dead and tens of thousands of poultry were euthanized after a massive wave of bird flu cases swept through several states, including Haryana.
However, several of the infections were from a different strain of the virus, H5N8, which experts say is less dangerous to humans.
However, in late January, the center issued an alert as it confirmed the presence of bird flu among poultry in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Chhattisgarh, as well as in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, UP, and Punjab.
More than 50,000 birds died in Punjab, Maharashtra, and Kerala each as a precaution, and thousands more died in other states.
Cases of bird flu among migratory birds and crows were also reported in the Rudraprayag forests of Uttarakhand, Tetar of Jharkhand, and Junagadh of Gujarat, as well as peacocks in Beed in Maharashtra.
Four serological samples of bird droppings from the Delhi Zoo also tested positive.
The spread of cases led some states to ban the sale of poultry for some time, particularly for broths imported from other states, and it also restricted the sale of chicken or egg-based dishes in restaurants.
According to the World Health Organization, ‘Avian influenza, or ‘bird flu, is a type of influenza virus that causes severe and highly infectious respiratory illness in birds.
The world health body says that human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but adds that it is generally difficult to transmit the infection from person to person.
The WHO adds that there is no evidence that the disease can be spread through well-cooked food.