Ecuador reports 1st human infection of influenza A(H5) in Latin America and the Caribbean


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The National Undersecretary for Epidemiological Surveillance in the Ministry of Health, Francisco Pérez, confirmed the first case of avian influenza A (H5) in a nine-year-old girl in Bolivar province, the first such case reported in Latin. America and the Caribbean.

H5N1 avian influenza
Photo / Cynthia Goldsmith / Jackie Katz

The patient is currently admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit, in isolation and on antiviral and supportive treatment.

“It is an infection that jumped from an animal to a human,” Perez commented in a press conference, where he also explained that the case was identified in the parish of Simiatug after the girl came into contact with the chickens bought in Ambato and that they died without a lanai. Clear.

According to the Undersecretary, after the death of the chickens, around December 20, the girl developed respiratory symptoms. “At first it was mild and then it developed.” Because of the seriousness of the condition, he ended up in intensive care at the Paca Ortiz Children’s Hospital in Quito (HPBO).

On January 7, the National Reference Laboratory of the National Institute of Public Health (INSPI) confirmed the infection with avian influenza and the first case recorded in Ecuador.

However, the official explained that there was no other case of bird flu among the people close to the girl and that they all remained in an epidemic fence, “both relatives and neighbors and did not show symptoms yet.” About 25 people have been tested.

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“We have teams deployed in Health District 5” to which Bolivar Province belongs, but monitoring and surveillance operations are also being carried out in District 3 (Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Chimborazo, Pastaza) “especially in the place where the outbreak initially occurred” in chickens, ie In Cotopaxi, Perez said.

On the other hand, the Undersecretary confirmed that active searches are being conducted with Agrocalidad (Agency for Plant and Animal Health Monitoring) for new cases of bird deaths, “and interventions have been made so far in two farms to avoid transmission” to other birds.

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