India just reported the first confirmed case of bird flu death in a human. The top virologists stress there is no need to panic. As the human-to-human transmission of this flu is highly unlikely.
It was an 11-year-old boy from Gurugram, Haryana. He had died of the disease 10 days ago. This prompted the Centre to launch an epidemiological investigation in the case.
After getting diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in June, the child had developed symptoms of fever, cough and breathing difficulty.
Later he was admitted to AIIMS, Delhi and died 10 days later of multi-organ failure. Only after his death the National Institute of Virology under the ICMR confirmed that he was suffering from bird flu.
Sooner, the National Centre for Disease Control which runs the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme began contact tracing.
As per the Union Health Ministry, the team of doctors and nurses who had treated the child are being monitored since July 16 for any influenza-like illness. But there are no reported symptoms so far. Also, a 10 km area where the boy lived has been put under surveillance.
More importantly, bird flu does not spread from human to human without prolonged contact.
As per the World Health Organisation, almost all cases of H5N1 infection or bird flu in people have been associated with close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments.
Moreover, the currently available information suggests that the virus does not infect humans easily.
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