By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza, aka bird flu. Human cases of H5N1 avian influenza do occur occasionally. When people do become infected, the mortality rate is about 60%.

H5N1 avian influenza
Image/Cynthia Goldsmith/ Jackie Katz

Indian media reports an 11-year-old boy, who died of a respiratory tract infection at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Tuesday is likely to be country’s first documented case and death of bird flu (H5N1) in humans.

His samples were sent to Pune’s National Institute of Virology where he tested positive for bird flu.

Contact tracing to identify people who might have been in close proximity with the boy is being undertaken.

More than 700 human infections with Asian HPAI H5N1 viruses have been reported to WHO from primarily 15 countries in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Europe and the Near East since November 2003. Indonesia, Vietnam and Egypt have reported the highest number of human HPAI Asian H5N1 cases to date.

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