Human Case Of H9N2 Bird Flu Reported In India, Confirms WHO

The World Health Organisation said that a four-year-old child in West Bengal was found to be infected with bird flu caused by the H9N2 virus. This is the second human infection of H9N2 bird flu from India, with the first in 2019. WHO also says that the likelihood of human-to-human spread is low. Read on to know more.
Human Case Of H9N2 Bird Flu Reported In India

Human Case Of H9N2 Bird Flu Reported In India

Bird Flu in India: The World Health Organization WHO) said that a four-year-old child in West Bengal was found to be infected with bird flu caused by the H9N2 virus, reported Reuters. The child was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) of a local hospital due to persistent severe respiratory issues, high fever and abdominal cramps in February, and was discharged three months later after diagnosis and treatment.
WHO said that the patient had exposure to poultry at home and in his surroundings, and there was no known person reporting symptoms of respiratory illness among his family and other contacts.
India’s International Health Regulations (IHR) National Focal Point (NFP) informed the WHO about a case of human infection with avian influenza A(H9N2) virus in a 4-year-old child living in the state of West Bengal on May 22. The four-year-old was earlier diagnosed with hyperreactive airway disease along with fever and abdominal pain.
According to a report in TOI, the patient tested positive for influenza B and adenovirus at the Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at the local government hospital.
However, with a recurrence of severe respiratory distress, the child was referred to another government hospital and was admitted to the pediatric ICU and intubated on March 3. After several tests, the patient on March 5 was tested positive for influenza A (not sub-typed) and rhinovirus.
The same sample was then sent to the National Influenza Centre at the National Institute of Virology in Pune for subtyping. On April 26, the sample was sub-typed as influenza A(H9N2) through a real-time polymerase chain reaction. The patient was then from the hospital with oxygen support on May 1.
This is the second human infection of H9N2 bird flu from India, with the first in 2019, WHO said.
While the H9N2 virus typically tends to cause mild illness, the United Nations agency said that further sporadic human cases could occur as this virus is one of the most prevalent avian influenza viruses circulating in poultry in different regions.
Most human cases of infection with avian influenza A(H9N2) viruses are exposed to the virus through contact with infected poultry or contaminated environments, says WHO. “Human infection tends to result in mild clinical illness. Further human cases can be expected since the virus continues to be detected in poultry populations. No clusters of cases have been reported.”
WHO also says that the likelihood of human-to-human spread is low.
(With inputs from Reuters)
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