Avian Influenza
Bird flu could have jumped to humans: official
Feb 24, 2006 - 2:28:37 AM

The Indian government said Wednesday it could "not rule out the possibility" of avian influenza spreading to human beings in a village in Maharashtra.

"We cannot rule out the possibility of bird flu being transmitted to humans. There is a distinct possibility of such transfusion," Health Secretary Prasanna Hota told a TV news channel.

Hota was reacting to reports that two people in Maharashtra's Navapur village, from where India's first case of bird flue was confirmed Saturday, were suffering from a mild case of human avian influenza.

Twelve people, including two children, had been kept in an isolation ward in Navapur's sub-district hospital after they reported flu-like symptoms. The two people displaying bird flu-like symptoms were part of this group.

Hota said there was a "protocol" to be followed in such cases and details about the suspected cases would be available only Thursday.

This apart, blood samples had been collected from 104 Navapur residents to ascertain if the H5N1 strain of avian influenza had affected them.

Known to spread to human beings, the H5N1 strain of bird flu has resulted in nearly 100 human casualties across Southeast Asia, mostly in Vietnam. It has so far been reported in seven countries.

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