The bird flu spreading through southern France is highly contagious for fowl but poses no health risk to humans
The bird flu spreading through southern France is highly contagious for fowl but poses no health risk to humans AFP / GAIZKA IROZ

The first human case of the H5N1 strain of bird flu to be identified in Australia has been identified in a child, who recently returned from abroad.

The announcement coincides with the discovery of another outbreak of avian flu -- albeit a different type -- on an egg farm in Victoriana.

The child was understood to have returned from India in March, following which they tested positive for the avian influenza H5N1 strain. The child, who had a serious infection, was completely healed now. Contact tracing investigations have not turned up any further instances connected to this case, The Guardian reported.

Victoria Health released a statement Wednesday stating that "contact tracing has not identified any further cases of avian influenza connected to this case."

The declaration coincides with the Victorian government's confirmation of an additional avian flu epidemic on a nearby egg farm. This strain, recognized as another extremely pathogenic variety, however, differs from the H5N1 variant.

"The avian influenza virus was detected through further testing of positive influenza samples that take place to detect novel or concerning flu virus strains, as part of Victoria's enhanced surveillance system," officials said.

Tests verified an avian influenza outbreak at a poultry farm close to Melbourne. Subsequent testing indicated that the strain causing issues worldwide is the H7 strain, despite early worries pointing toward the H5 strain. This is a relief, given how highly pathogenic (HPAI) the H5 strain is.

Fortunately, Agriculture Victoria reported that there was still little risk to the general people. To stop the virus from spreading, they encouraged all bird owners to follow appropriate biosecurity practices. This entails maintaining tidy poultry habitats, avoiding interactions with untamed birds, and carefully handling birds and eggs.

Store-bought eggs and chicken products don't pose a health risk. Agriculture Victoria guaranteed their safety for consumption.

Avian influenza strains with varying degrees of pathogenicity are known as HPAI (highly pathogenic) and LPAI (low pathogenic). HPAI can be lethal, particularly in poultry, but LPAI only causes minor or no disease in birds.