Bird Flu Victoria: First Australian human case of strain H5N1 detected in child

Max Corstorphan
The Nightly
The infection of a dairy worker in Michigan expands the outbreak of bird flu in the United States. (AP PHOTO)
The infection of a dairy worker in Michigan expands the outbreak of bird flu in the United States. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

Victoria has reported its first human case of the bird flue strain H5N1, as concern of a global outbreak grows.

The Victorian Department of Health said the case was detected in a child who had recently returned from overseas and had fallen ill in March.

Bird flu outbreaks are being observed in birds and mammals across the globe as authorities race to contain the deadly new strain.

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While human infections are rare, they can occur under certain conditions.

The department confirmed the infected child had contracted the virus in India, and the strain was identified through Victoria’s enhanced flu surveillance system. Importantly.

Avian influenza A (H5N1) is a highly pathogenic virus, particularly deadly for poultry, and has caused significant outbreaks worldwide.

When the virus infects humans, it can lead to severe respiratory illness.

The child is believed to be fully recovered, and there is no evidence of further transmission within the state.

The first Australian human-recorded case comes as authorities locked down a Victorian egg farm after bird flu was detected.

The Department of Health released a statement saying it is: “Supporting Agriculture Victoria in responding to an outbreak of avian influenza among birds at a poultry farm in regional Victorian.

“Testing has confirmed this outbreak is not related to this human case,” the statement continued.

Urgent testing was conducted on Wednesday which confirmed the strain was not the strain that is causing global alarm.

Despite the farm not having the H5N1 strain, hundreds of thousands of birds have been euthanised at the property.

Health officials are warning people travelling to areas affected by bird flu to avoid poultry farms and live bird “wet” markets

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