The first human case of bird flu has been discovered in Chile, the nation’s health ministry announced on Wednesday.
According to a statement released by the ministry, the case was found in a 53-year-old male who had severe influenza symptoms but was otherwise stable.
Chile has reported cases of the H5N1 bird flu in wild animals since late last year. The government is also looking into the patient’s contact with others and the source of the infection.
The government stopped exporting chicken as a result of recent incidents in industrial farms. Argentina has also reported industrial cases, but Brazil, the world’s largest supplier of chicken, is still unaffected.
The virus can spread from birds or marine mammals to humans, according to Chilean health officials, although there is no known human-to-human transmission.
Early this year, a 9-year-old girl in Ecuador became the first person to have the bird flu there. Notwithstanding the low likelihood of human-to-human transmission, according to international health officials, human bird flu vaccines have been developed “just in case.”