The entire staff of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi has been placed under isolation after an 11-year-old-boy died of Bird Flu (Avian Influenza) at the facility this Tuesday. As per WHO, it is rare for Avian Influenza to infect humans but the mortality rate could be as high as 60% in positive cases. This is the first bird flu death in India since the beginning of this year.
Bird flu outbursts were reported across the country earlier this year. Samples collected from the city’s Red Fort area tested positive in January. A month later, samples collected from Delhi’s National Zoological Park were also found positive for H5N1. Fear of Avian Influenza peaked again in April when as many as 100 migratory birds were found dead in the Pong Dam Lake in Himachal Pradesh.
During the Bird Flu outbreaks reported across the country earlier this year, experts in Haryana had detected the H5N8 subtype of the Avian Influenza virus. This strain, fortunately, is not known to infect humans.
As a response, the central government had sounded an alert when cases of bird flu were confirmed in Delhi and at least ten other 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.
Things to Watch Out For:
Common Bird Flu Symptoms – Sneezes, running nose, and sore throat, with later symptoms like fever, muscle pain, headache, nose congestion, dry cough, fatigue, chills, etc.
Probable causes of infection – Direct contact with dead or alive infected birds, or eating uncooked or half-cooked poultry. Birds can infect the surface with their droppings, and spread the virus through the air through the flapping of wings. Person-to-person is not common.
Infants and senior citizens fall in the high Avian Influenza risk category, as do people with comorbidities, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.
It is advisable to avoid direct contact with infected poultry, geese, ducks, etc. High-temperature cooking is known to kill the virus in infected poultry. Flu antiviruses are the commonly prescribed precautions.
For further information, you can also embed the link: First bird flu death at AIIMS in India: All you want to know