New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India on Tuesday night said that it has reported its first 'bird flu' death, which is also known as 'avian influenza', after an 11-year-old boy succumbed to the H5N1 infection. The boy was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) of Delhi. He was admitted to the hospital on July 2 with pneumonia and leukaemia and was suspected of COVID-19. He died on July 12.

"His samples tested negative for COVID-19. It came out positive for influenza but was non-typable. It was sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune, where they confirmed it to be positive for H5N1 avian influenza," news agency PTI quoted a source as saying.

According to reports, the boy was a resident of Haryana. The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has now started contact tracing to see if there are any more cases with similar symptoms with whom the child has come in contact.

Bird flu outbreak was reported in India earlier this year after 10 states -- including Delhi, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh -- recorded cases of avian influenza. Though Avian influenza generally infects birds, it can also be detected among humans. As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), the mortality rate among humans due to bird flu is 60 per cent.

The WHO has also said that the avian influenza can "occasionally" transmit from one person to another. However, it has said that disease can't spread "through thoroughly cooked food".

"In most cases, avian influenza in humans develops into a serious disease that should be treated promptly in the hospital and may require intensive care, where available. The antiviral medicine oseltamivir can reduce the severity of illness and prevent death, and should be used in all cases," it said.

Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry had earlier said that it is keeping an eye on bird flu cases in India. It also said that the country has not given permission for use of any vaccine against bird flu nor other countries like the US, UK and the European Union have approved any such vaccine.

"As per World Organization of Animal Health (OIE), vaccination is not considered the solution for the control of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) if eradication is the desired result," Union Minister Sanjeev Kumar Balyan had said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma