Sydney, December 7: A two-year-old girl in Australia who had leukaemia and was undergoing chemotherapy succumbed to a rare pigeon virus that puzzled the doctors. The infection, called Newcastle disease, is very uncommon in humans and usually affects poultry. The medics could not figure out how she got the virus, but they guessed that she might have come in contact with pigeon droppings or other secretions from the birds.

As per the report published by the Sun, the toddler was one of only five human cases in the last 100 years since the virus was first found in Newcastle. The girl, whose name was not revealed, had leukaemia and was in chemotherapy. She went to a hospital in Randwick, New South Wales, with cold-like symptoms, nausea and vomiting that lasted for three weeks. Her health worsened quickly, and she started having epileptic seizures. Australia: Woman Dies After Using Weight-Loss Drug Ozempic To Get Slim for Daughter's Wedding.

According to the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, the doctors could not detect the virus in her tests or MRI scans. They tried to treat her with antiviral drugs, antibiotics and anti-seizure medication, but they could not stop her brain swelling and pain. She passed away a month after she was hospitalised. The doctors wrote in the journal that the girl probably died from encephalitis, which is when the brain swells up because of the APMV-1 infection. They found the same virus in pigeons before. “We don’t know how she got the virus, but maybe she touched pigeon droppings or fluids by accident," the doctors said. Australia: Minor Boy Dies in School After Being Trapped Under Lift in Sydney.

Newcastle disease, a viral infection that affects many birds and can be transmitted to humans, was first detected in Australia in 1942. Since then, only 485 people worldwide have contracted the disease, mostly in the UK. Only four of them have died, all from the APMV-1 strain of the virus, in four different countries: the Netherlands, the US, China, and France. The virus that causes Newcastle disease, Avian Paramyxovirus Type 1 (APMV-1), can cause birds to have twisted necks and trembling wings. It is very uncommon in humans and usually only causes eye infections.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 07, 2023 11:47 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website