SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile’s health ministry said on Thursday it had confirmed its first confirmed case of bird flu.
A statement issued by the ministry said the case was a 53-year-old man with severe flu symptoms, but noted that the patient was in a stable condition.
The government is also investigating the source of infection and other people who came into contact with the patient.
Chile has reported cases of H5N1 bird flu in wildlife since late last year.
The government has suspended poultry exports due to recent cases on industrial farms. Industrial cases have also been detected in Argentina, but Brazil, the world’s largest poultry exporter, is free.
Chilean health officials have noted that the virus can be transmitted from birds and marine mammals to humans, but human-to-human transmission is not known.
Earlier this year, Ecuador confirmed its first case of influenza in a 9-year-old girl. Global health officials say the risk of human-to-human transmission is low, but vaccine makers are preparing human bird flu shots “just in case”.
Reported by Fabian Cambero and Alexander Villegas.Edited by Chris Reese
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