Chile detects first human case of bird flu
SANTIAGO: Chile has detected its first case of avian influenza in humans, the country’s Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday (March 29).
The case was discovered in a 53-year-old man with severe flu symptoms, according to a ministry statement, but it noted that the patient was in a stable condition.
The government is also investigating the source of the infection as well as other people who came into contact with the patient.
Chile has reported cases of avian influenza H5N1 since late last year in wildlife.
Recent cases on industrial farms prompted the government to halt poultry exports. Industrial cases have also been detected in Argentina, but Brazil, the world’s largest poultry exporter, remains uninfected.
Chilean health authorities note that the virus can be transmitted from birds or marine mammals to humans, but there is no human-to-human transmission.
Earlier this year, Ecuador confirmed its first case of human-to-human transmission of bird flu in a 9-year-old girl.
Global health officials say the risk of human-to-human transmission is low, but vaccine makers have prepared avian flu vaccines for people “just in case”.