US officials said that a man in Chile has been infected by bird flu with “concerning mutations”.
It is possible that the mutations occurred when the 53-year old patient, who is currently in hospital, fell ill.
There is no evidence that the virus has been spread, mixed with flu viruses or developed resistance against current drugs or vaccines.
Vivien dugan, from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the virus poses a low threat to humans.
She added, “It’s still important to keep an eye on every human infection.”
We need to be vigilant about changes that could make these viruses more harmful to humans.
Animal studies have shown that mutations may cause the bird influenza to be more dangerous or spread more readily.
There is no indication that these mutations will make it easier for a virus to take hold in the upper lungs of a person – an event which would raise concerns about its spread.
Previous bird flu infections have shown similar mutations.
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What is bird Flu?
The first outbreak of Type A H5N1 bird flu was in 1997, when visitors to Hong Kong’s live poultry markets contracted it.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 450 deaths caused by bird flu have occurred in the last 20 years.
Most people who are infected contracted it from birds.
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The UK authorities have announced that the bird flu protective measures will be lifted by next week.
was introduced on 7th November, last year. The rule made it mandatory to keep animals indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to protect flocks.
Bird keepers can keep their flocks outdoors again as of 18 April. Eggs laid by poultry kept outside will now be labeled “free range”.
Bird keepers were urged to be vigilant in order to prevent any further outbreaks.
In China, a woman aged 56 died recently from a rare form of bird flu.
The third known case of H3N8 bird flu has been confirmed in this woman.