SANTIAGO -- Chile detected the first case of bird flue in a human, the country's health ministry reported on Wednesday.
The case was detected in a 53-year-old man who presented severe influenza symptoms, according to a statement issued by the ministry, but they noted the patient was in stable condition.
The government is also investigating the source of contagion as well as others who were in contact with the patient.
Chile has reported cases of the H5N1 bird flu since late last year in wild animals.
Recent cases in industrial farms caused the government to halt poultry exports. Industrial cases have also been detected in Argentina, but Brazil, the world's largest exporter of poultry, remains free of the contagion.
Chilean health authorities noted the virus can be transmitted from birds or marine mammals to humans, but there is no known human-to-human transmission.
Earlier this year, Ecuador confirmed its first case of human transmission of bid flu in a 9-year-old girl. Global health officials have said risk of transmission between humans is low, but vaccine makers have been preparing bird flu shots for humans "just in case."