As India reported the first confirmed case of human death due to Avian influenza, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria said on Wednesday people need not panic as human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus is very rare, PTI reported.
"The transmission of the virus from birds to humans is rare and sustained human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus has not yet been established and therefore there is no need to panic," he said.
A 12-year-old boy from Haryana recently died at AIIMS Delhi after contracting bird flu. The boy was admitted to AIIMS on July 2 with pneumonia and leukaemia. He died on July 12.
Guleria said H5N1 is usually transmitted to poultry through migratory birds and people who work in close contact with poultry are at high risk of getting the infection, PTI reported.
"People working closely with poultry must take precautionary measures and maintain proper personal hygiene," Dr Guleria said.
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Dr Neeraj Nischal, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at AIIMS, said there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission so far.
"Although few isolated family clusters have been reported, transmission in these clusters may have occurred through common exposure and in rare situation a very close physical contact; there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission via small-particle aerosols," he said.
"Serologic surveys have not found evidence of asymptomatic infections among contacts of active cases and nosocomial transmission to healthcare workers has not been documented," Dr Nischal said.
He added that there is no need to worry if a person is eating properly cooked poultry products.
"There is no evidence so far that it can be spread to people through properly cooked food. The virus gets destroyed when the food is cooked at high temperature. One should avoid contact with infected poultry, especially ill or dying chickens," he said.