The Ministry of Health of Chile notified the first case of infection by the Avian Influenza virus (H5N1) in a human being in the country. It is the second Avian Influenza virus infection case detected in South America after the first case in Ecuador associated with exposure to domestic poultry.
Worldwide, this is the 11th case of H5N1 infection in humans since January 2022. Although authorities have not traced the origin of the infection in Chile, other Avian Influenza cases are reported to have occurred after exposure to poultry.
The detection of human infections is not rare. Due to the worldwide increase in virus outbreaks in wild birds, poultry, and recently in other mammals, sporadic cases in humans are expected to occur.
Although the risk of human infection remains low, it is critical to continue surveillance for the disease in wild birds, poultry, mammals, and humans to determine the public health risk and to stop other animal species from becoming infected.
Authorities recommend continued surveillance and strict biosecurity measures for infected species, which include disinfection and cleaning of all areas infected by animals sick with the virus.
Informe técnico: Virus de la influenza aviar A (H5N1) altamente patógena. (March 30, 2023). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://espanol.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/spotlights/2022-2023/chile-first-case-h5n1.htm