Cambodia live days of worry after the death of an 11-year-old girl for having contracted Avian Flu and also because of the contagion that affects the father of the girl, with which cases total two reported in humans of this disease which originated in birds.
After the baby girl’s death, an investigative team from the Asian country’s Ministry of Health traveled to her town in Prey Veng province, where they carried out virus detection tests to 12 people, with only one positive result to date, in a 49-year-old man, father of the minor.
According to a statement released by health authorities, the girl began to be ill on February 16, with symptoms including high fever, cough and sore throat which did not improve after three days of treatment in his hometown. Due to the persistence of symptoms, she was transferred to the children’s hospital in the capital, Phnom Penh, on February 21, where she died the following day.
Tests carried out by the medical team at the time of her admission revealed that the little girl had tested positive for the H5N1 bird flu virus. It is the first human death from the disease in Cambodia since 2014, after the country suffered 37 deaths from bird flu between 2003 and 2014.
The case of Cambodia comes at a time of growth concern about this disease for their leap from birds to mammals in different parts of the world, which led to a press release warning Since World Health Organization (WHO) on February 8. Although it is an animal disease, transmission to humans who come into contact with sick birds is possible.
After these two human cases, the first detected in the past nine years, the emergency team is working to find the source of transmission and testing both people and animals in the city where the infections occurred.
Avian flu H5N1 is a viral disease that affects poultry As the savage. So far, there are no records of sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus globally, so the risk of contagion to people is considered low.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned a few weeks ago that humanity must prepare for a possible human avian flu pandemic because there is a risk that the circulating strain of avian influenza will pass from domestic and wild birds to other populations of mammalsincluding humans.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained that the H5N1 virus has been spreading among poultry and wild birds for 25 years, but infections have recently been detected in mink, otters and sea lions, for which “they must be closely monitored”. “
Avian flu or influenza is an infectious disease that mainly affects birds and is caused by a virus of the family Orthomyxoviridae.
Some avian influenza virus subtypes are high pathogenicity, mainly by type A subtypes (H5 and H7). They can cause serious disease in birds and spread rapidly, with high death rates in different species of birds, indicate the WHO.
“Most influenza viruses circulating in birds are not zoonotic. However, some strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza have the ability to infect humans, posing a threat to public health. The H5N1 virus, the same as that detected in infected birds in Argentina, was responsible in 1997 for a large epidemic in Hong Kong and China.
The ace wild birds, mainly migratory, are the natural host of the virus and are the main factor in its spread throughout the Americas. Poultry populations can contract the disease through contact with infected wild birds. Since 2003, this bird flu virus and others have spread from Asia to Europe and Africa. In the Americas, this virus was first identified in domestic and wild birds in December 2014, in the United States.
bird flu it is not transmitted to people through the consumption of poultry meat and its by-products. There is therefore no danger in consuming these foods.
The risk of transmission to humans is low and can occur when secretions or feces of infected birds are inhaled by people or if the virus comes into contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eyes.
The H5N1 viruses currently circulating in wild birds and causing outbreaks in poultry are well adapted to spread among birds. However, these H5N1 avian influenza viruses lack the ability to readily bind to human upper respiratory tract receptorsnor to be transmitted between people, they explained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States.
Despite the low risk of transmission to humans, the truth is that it does happen. As the WHO indicates, both this virus and “other influenza viruses of zoonotic origin can affect humans, causing illnesses ranging from mild upper respiratory infections (fever and cough) to pneumonia, septic shock , acute respiratory distress syndrome or even death”.
Gastrointestinal symptoms are more common with A(H5N1) virus infection. With the A(H7) viruses, cases of conjunctivitis have been described. The infection is mainly manifested by respiratory symptoms. Certain characteristics, such as the incubation period, severity of symptoms and clinical findings, vary depending on the causative virus. Common early symptoms are high fever (greater than or equal to 38°C) and cough. Signs and symptoms of lower respiratory tract disease such as dyspnoea or difficulty breathing have been reported.