NewsDesk @bactiman63

National Undersecretary of Epidemiological Surveillance of the Ministry of Health (MSP), Francisco Pérez, has confirmed the first case of avian influenza A (H5) in a nine-year-old girl in the province of Bolívar, the first such case reported in Latin America and the Caribbean.

H5N1 avian influenza
Image/Cynthia Goldsmith/ Jackie Katz

The patient is currently hospitalized in a pediatric intensive care unit, in isolation and with antiviral and supportive treatment.

“It is an infection that made the leap from animal to human,” Pérez commented at a press conference, where he also detailed that the case was identified in the Simiatug parish after the girl had contact with chickens bought in Ambato and that they died without cause. apparent.

According to the undersecretary, after the death of the chickens, around December 20, the girl presented respiratory symptoms. “Initially it was mild and then it evolved” and due to the seriousness of the case, he ended up in intensive care at the Baca Ortiz Pediatric Hospital in Quito (HPBO).

On January 7, the national reference laboratory of the National Institute of Public Health (INSPI) confirmed the avian flu infection and the first case registered in Ecuador.

However, the official has clarified that there is no other case of avian influenza among people close to the girl and that all of them have remained in an epidemiological fence, “both relatives and neighbors and none have presented symptoms so far.” About 25 people were tested.

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“We have teams deployed in health zone 5” to which the province of Bolívar belongs, but monitoring and surveillance processes are also carried out in zone 3 (Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Chimborazo, Pastaza) “especially in the place where initially the outbreak occurred” in chickens, that is, in Cotopaxi, Pérez said.

On the other hand, the undersecretary has ensured that active searches are being carried out together with Agrocalidad (Phyto and Zoosanitary Control Agency) for new cases of death of birds “and so far two farms have been intervened to avoid contagion” to other birds.