Chilean man’s avian flu infection has ‘worrying’ mutations | world news


A man in Chile has been infected with bird flu, which has “worrying” mutations, US health officials said.

The mutations could have happened after the 53-year-old, who is in hospital, fell ill.

However, there is no evidence that the mutated virus has spread to other people, mixed with other flu viruses, or developed resistance to current drugs or vaccines.

The threat to humans from the virus is low, said Vivien Dugan of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Nevertheless, it is important to continue to carefully investigate every case of human infection,” she added.

“We must remain vigilant for changes that would make these viruses more dangerous to humans.”

Previous animal studies suggest that mutations could be causing this bird flu virus is more harmful or spreads more easily.

However, there is no evidence that these mutations would make it easier for the virus to lodge in a person’s upper lungs – a development that would raise concern about its spread among humans.

Similar mutations have been found in previous bird flu infections.

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Scientists on alert for bird flu

What is bird flu?

Avian flu, called type A H5N1, was first identified during an outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997 when visitors to live poultry markets contracted it.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 450 people have died from bird flu in the past two decades.

The vast majority of those infected got it directly from birds.

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It comes, as the British authorities announced Avian flu protection measures are lifted next week.

The rules that were introduced on November 7th last yearmade it a legal requirement to keep animals indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures to protect herds.

From April 18, bird keepers will be allowed to keep their flocks outdoors again and eggs laid by free-range poultry can now be labeled as “free-range”.

However, bird keepers have been urged to remain vigilant to prevent further outbreaks.

In the meantime, a 56-year-old woman in China died in the last few days from a type of bird flu that is rare in humans.

She was the third known person to be infected with the H3N8 subtype of bird flu.

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