The first human case of bird flu was discovered in Chile on Wednesday, according to the country’s health ministry.
The virus was identified in a 53-year-old male who reported severe influenza symptoms, according to an official statement from the health ministry, although the patient was in stable condition.
According to reports, the Chilean government is investigating the cause of the outbreak and following anyone who has had contact with the government.
Since late last year, the country has already seen outbreaks of H5N1 bird flu in wild animals. Yet, recent incidents at industrial farms have resulted in the government prohibiting chicken exports. The virus can be transferred from birds or marine animals to people, although no human-to-human transmission has been reported.
Argentina has recorded industrial incidents as well. But still, Brazil, the world’s top poultry exporter, is immune to the virus.
Ecuador verified its first incidence of human transmission of avian flu earlier this year in a 9-year-old girl.
Meanwhile, global health experts have stated that the chance of human-to-human transmission is low, and vaccine manufacturers have been manufacturing bird flu vaccines for people “just in case.”
What Is Bird Flu?
It is also known as Avian Influenza and is caused by infection with Avian (bird) Influenza (flu) Type A viruses, which are commonly seen in wild aquatic birds. Domestic poultry, other birds, and animals are also infected by the virus. Since human infection by Avian Flu viruses is extremely rare, precautions should be taken.
What Causes Bird Flu?
The virus may enter the human body through the eyes, nose, or mouth of anybody who comes into touch with infected birds.
Common symptoms of Bird Flu in humans:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
Symptoms of severe bird flu:
- Pinkeye (conjunctivitis)
- Respiratory failure
- Kidney dysfunction
- Heart problems
- (With inputs from Reuters)