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Human death from bird flu: What is bird flu? Signs, treatments, precautions – WHO reports human bird flu death

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WHO reports human bird flu death

A 59-year-old man in Mexico City who contracted a subtype of bird flu has died in Mexico City, the World Health Organization said. The man, who had prior health complications died in hospital on April 24. This marks the first laboratory-confirmed human case of infection with an influenza A (H5N2) virus reported globally and the first avian H5 virus infection in a person reported in Mexico, the WHO said. “Although the source of exposure to the virus in this case is currently unknown, A (H5N2) viruses have been reported in poultry in Mexico,” the WHO said.

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What is bird flu?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Avian influenza or bird flu refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. These viruses naturally spread among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species.”

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Can it transmit to humans?

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Can it transmit to humans?

Bird flu viruses do not normally infect humans, as per the CDC. However, sporadic human infections with bird flu viruses have occurred. The CDC further says that there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission and the risk to the general public is low. Animal influenza viruses normally circulate in animals but can also infect humans. Infections in humans have primarily been acquired through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments. “Human infections with avian influenza viruses can happen when virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled,” as per the CDC.

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Symptoms of bird flu in humans

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Symptoms of bird flu in humans

Symptoms of bird flu infections in people have ranged from mild (eye infection, upper respiratory symptoms) to severe illness (pneumonia) that have resulted in death. The Mexican patient experienced symptoms like fever, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, nausea and general discomfort. Conjunctivitis, sore throat, headache, runny nose and muscle or body aches are some other symptims.

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Precaution and treatment

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Precaution and treatment

“Avoid contact with surfaces that appear to be contaminated with animal feces, raw milk, litter, or materials contaminated by birds or other animals with suspected or confirmed avian influenza virus infection,” said the CDC. Other than this, consuming uncooked or raw products contaminated by birds should be avoided. CDC currently recommends treatment as soon as possible with flu antiviral drugs for people with suspected or confirmed influenza A(H5N1) virus infection. Antiviral treatment works best when started as soon as symptoms begin.

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