WHO Orders ‘Worldwide Lockdowns’ As Australia Reports First Human Bird Flu Case

The World Health Organization (WHO) has ordered government’s to prepare to initiate harsh new lockdowns after Australia reported its first human case of Bird Flu on Wednesday.

According to reports, authorities in Australia claim a child was infected with avian influenza in India and brought the disease to Australia.

“This is the first confirmed human case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Australia,” Dr Claire Looker, the state’s chief health office declared in a statement.

Reuters.com reports: It was the first instance of detection of the H5N1 strain in a person or animal in the country, she added.

“The child experienced a severe infection but is no longer unwell and has made a full recovery.”

The case in Victoria involves an H5N1 virus, but the strain is not the same as those responsible for outbreaks in the United States, Looker said.

A farm worker in Texas tested positive for the virus earlier this year as it spread through the U.S. cattle herd.

Australia is the only continent where animals have so far stayed free of the H5N1 avian influenza virus, but authorities on Wednesday said a different strain of highly pathogenic bird flu had been detected at an egg farm near Melbourne.

First laboratory tests showed that virus was an as yet unidentified H7 strain that probably came from the wild bird population and had been seen in Australia before, said Graeme Cooke, Victoria’s chief veterinary officer.

Curbs were imposed on movement around the farm and the birds would be destroyed, he added.

“This area does have a high density of poultry businesses, both egg laying and poultry meat,” Cooke told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio.

“At this stage we can’t say whether there’ll be any onward spread to other properties. We are now taking measures necessary to stamp it out to remove any onward spread.”

The outbreak presented no risk to human health, he said.

Only a small part of the industry has been affected, said Rowan McMonnies, chief executive of industry body Australian Eggs, adding that farmers would be “working hard to ensure there are eggs on shelves”.

Chicken producer Inghams Group (ING.AX), plunged as much as 16% but pared losses to 5.5% by 0701 GMT after it said operations had not been affected.

The Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) said companies had stepped up biosafety measures as a precaution but added, “No discernible impact is expected on chicken meat supplies at the retail level.”

In 2020, Victoria was the site of an H7N7 outbreak, the most recent of Australia’s nine outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) since 1976. All were quickly reined in and stamped out, the government says.

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