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First recorded death due to H5N1 avian influenza

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    26th Jul, 2021

An 11-year-old boy is died of H5N1 avian influenza in Delhi. In January, bird flu was confirmed in several states with thousands of birds, being found dead.

Context

An 11-year-old boy is died of H5N1 avian influenza in Delhi. In January, bird flu was confirmed in several states with thousands of birds, being found dead.

About

What is Avian influenza?

  • Bird flu or avian influenza is a disease which is caused by avian influenza Type A viruses found naturally in the wild birds worldwide.
  • The virus can infect domestic poultry which includes chickens, ducks and turkeys.
  • Avian Influenza type A viruses which are classified based on two proteins on their surfaces:
    • Hemagglutinin(HA)
    • Neuraminidase(NA)
  • There are about 18 HA subtypes and 11 NA subtypes.
  • Several combinations of these two proteins are also possible e.g., H5N1, H7N2, H9N6, H17N10, etc.
  • The virus was first detected in geese in China in 1996.
  • Symptoms of avian influenza: Fever, cough, sore throat, nausea, abdominal pain, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting Severe respiratory illness (respiratory distress, viral pneumonia, respiratory failure), Neurologic changes (altered mental status, seizures).
  • Risk groups: Children and adults below 40 are seen to be the most affected and mortality was high in 10-19 years old.

How deadly is this virus?

  • HPAI Asian H5N1 is deadly for poultry.
  • The infection is deadly as it has a high mortality rate of about 60%.

Human Transmission of influenza

  • Most common route of transmission: Direct contact
  • Humans can also be affected after coming in contact with contaminated surfaces or air near the infected poultry.
  • The transmission of the virus from the birds to humans is rare and sustained human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus has not been established yet.
  • There have been reports of avian and swine influenza infections in the humans including A(H1N1), A(H1N2), A(H5N1), A(H7N9), etc.
  • The first report of the human H5N1 infection was in 1997.
  • Currently, over 700 human cases of Asian Highly Pathogenic Asian Avian Influenza A (HPAI) H5N1 virus have also been reported to the World Health Organisation from 16 countries.

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