In news- On July 21, an 11-year-old boy died of H5N1 avian influenza in Delhi, which is the first recorded death due to the bird flu in India this year.
About Avian influenza/ Bird flu-
- It is a disease caused by avian influenza Type A viruses found naturally in wild birds worldwide.
- The virus can infect domestic poultry including chickens, ducks, turkeys and there have been reports of H5N1 infection among pigs, cats, and even tigers in Thailand.
- Avian Influenza type A viruses are classified based on two proteins on their surfaces – Hemagglutinin(HA) and Neuraminidase(NA).
- There are about 18 HA subtypes and 11 NA subtypes.
- There have been reports of avian and swine influenza infections in humans including A(H1N1), A(H1N2), A(H5N1), A(H7N9), etc…
- The first report of human H5N1 infection was in 1997 and currently, over 700 human cases of Asian Highly Pathogenic Asian Avian Influenza A (HPAI) H5N1 virus have been reported to the World Health Organisation from 16 countries.
- The infection is deadly as it has a high mortality rate of about 60%.
- The most common route of virus transmission is direct contact — when a person comes in close contact with infected birds, either dead or alive.
- The flu spreads from the saliva, mucus and faeces of the infected birds.
- Humans can also be affected if they come in contact with contaminated surfaces or air near the infected poultry.
- The transmission of the virus from birds to humans is rare and sustained human-to-human transmission has not yet been established.
- There is no sufficient evidence suggesting the spread of the virus through properly cooked meat.
- Signs and symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, Severe respiratory illness and Neurological changes.
- Children and adults below 40 were seen to be the most affected and mortality was high in 10-19 years olds.