India has reported its first avian influenza death, an 11-year-old boy who succumbed to the H5N1 virus in Gurugram, a satellite city of Delhi in India, Channel News Asia said Thursday.
The boy was diagnosed with the disease and he developed symptoms of cough, fever and breathing difficulty, the India health ministry said in a statement.
The boy was admitted at All India Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital July 2 and died of multiple organ failure Tuesday, CNA said.
His death highlights a potential new risk for the world's second-most populous country battling the coronavirus pandemic.
The Health Ministry said the matter has been reported to the Animal Husbandry Department, and a team of experts is undertaking an epidemiological evaluation at AIIMS.
According to The Daily Star, the National Institute of Virology in Pune confirmed the infection and is conducting a virus isolation process.
The team of doctors and nurses who treated the boy is being monitored for development of any influenza-like illness since the boy's death but no one has so far reported any symptoms, health officials said.
Contact tracing was undertaken and family members, friends and health care workers are under close surveillance.
"Contact tracing, an active search for any symptomatic case has been carried out in the hospital and area where the case resided," Hindu Business Line quoted the health ministry as saying.
AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria said there's no need for panic as human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus is "very rare."
The H5N1 is usually transmitted to poultry through migratory birds, Guleria said.
India has seen more than half a dozen bird flu outbreaks in the past 20 years, all of which were brought under control.
No human cases were reported in the country previously.