Australia Records First Human Case of Bird Flu as Child Returning from India Tests Positive

Wed May 22 2024
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SYDNEY: Australia reported its first human case of avian influenza A(H5N1), commonly known as bird flu, on Wednesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The infected child was returning from India, where he contracted the virus in March 2024. According to the Victoria State Department of Health, the child has since recovered fully, and there have been no indications of transmission, with a very low likelihood of future human cases.

“The child, though severely infected, has fully recovered and is no longer experiencing illness,” a spokesperson stated. “Contact tracing efforts have not revealed any additional cases of avian influenza-related to this instance.”

Avian influenza primarily affects birds and is rarely found in humans. The Department of Health clarified that most strains of avian influenza do not infect humans, though certain subtypes, such as H5N1, pose a higher risk of causing illness and death in poultry.

While there is an ongoing outbreak of this strain in various parts of the world, including cases among dairy cows in the US and a recent positive test in a dairy worker, the last known instance of bird flu in poultry in Australia was in 2020.

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