Kathmandu, May 3: A 21-year-old youth infected with the Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, popularly known as bird flu, has died here, becoming the first case of bird flu death in Nepal, the government informed on Friday.
The Ministry of Health and Population has not disclosed the victim's identity and told the public that there was no need to panic, as it was a month-old case and chances of the virus spreading were remote, reports The Himalayan Times.
Pushpa Chaudhary, the Ministry Secretary, told the media here that it had sent the victim's throat swab to the WHO Collaborating Centre for Influenza in Japan which confirmed bird flu.
The youth, who was hospitalised on March 24 with symptoms of fever and cough, died on March 29. The government received a report from Japan only on April 30 that confirmed the youth had bird flu.
Chaudhary said the government had taken all measures to prevent the virus from spreading to other members of the victim's family. H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds.
Humans are rarely infected with H5N1, but when people to people infection is caused due to mutation of the virus, which is a rare occurrence, then there is 60 per cent chance of mortality, said Bibek Kumar Lal, executive director at Epidemiology and Diseases Control Division.
Since 2004, 860 people have died of bird flu around the world. The disease was reported in Nepal in March. Cases of H5N1 infection in humans are found to have been caused by close contact with infected live or dead birds.