Several states reported a sudden outbreak of bird flu cases in January this year. (HT Photo)
Several states reported a sudden outbreak of bird flu cases in January this year. (HT Photo)

First possible human infection of bird flu in India: What we know so far

Bird flu is deadlier than Covid-19 as its mortality rate is 60% in comparison with Covid's 3% mortality rate. The last human infection of bird flu in the world, according to WHO, was reported in October 2020, in Laos. China reported first human infection of bird flu in June this year.
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Poulomi Ghosh
PUBLISHED ON JUL 21, 2021 10:29 AM IST

An 11-year-old boy died on Tuesday at Delhi's AIIMS, marking possibly the first documented bird flu case and death in humans in India. Bird flu is influenza that affects birds. On rare occasions, this infection can transmit to humans. Early this year, several states of India witnessed a sudden outbreak of avian influenza amid the Coronavirus pandemic. But this is the first documented transmission of bird flu to a human, doctors said.

What we know about this case

The 11-year-old was admitted to the paediatric department of AIIMS in June end. Initially, Covid-19 was suspected. When he tested negative for Covid, he was suspected of influenza. The boy was suffering from leukaemia and pneumonia. Then his samples were sent to Pune's National Institute of Virology where he tested positive for bird flu.

On July 20, he succumbed to the infection.

The flu spreads from the saliva, mucous and faeces of the infected birds. It is not yet clear how the boy got infected. All staff who were attending this boy are being monitored closely.

Does bird flu affect humans?

In general, bird flu does not affect humans. But sporadic transmission of the infection from birds to humans has occurred, not documented in India, but in other countries. It can not usually transmit from one infected human to another as the virus can not attach to human cells well.

According to World Health Organization, from January 2003 to July 8, 2021, there were 239 cases of human infection of avian influenza. Of these cases, 455 were fatal. The last was reported from Laos on October 31, 2020.

Is bird flu deadly?

Yes, bird flu is deadlier than Covid-19 as its mortality rate is 60% in comparison with Covid's 3% mortality rate.

First human case of bird flu in China in June

China reported the first human infection of H10N3 bird flu in June in a 41-year-old man, a resident of Zhenjiang. Reports said he recovered from the infection.


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