Second human case of H9N2 bird flu in India: WHO confirms

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that a four-year-old child in West Bengal, India, has been infected with the H9N2 bird flu virus. This case marks the second instance of human infection with the H9N2 strain of bird flu in India.

Jun 12, 2024 - 14:49
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Second human case of H9N2 bird flu in India: WHO confirms

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that a four-year-old child in West Bengal, India, has been infected with the H9N2 bird flu virus.

The child was admitted to a local hospital's pediatric intensive care unit in February, suffering from severe respiratory issues, high fever, and abdominal cramps. After receiving the diagnosis and treatment, the child was discharged three months later.

The WHO reported that the child had been exposed to poultry at home and in the surrounding area. No other family members or contacts have reported respiratory symptoms. This case marks the second instance of human infection with the H9N2 strain of bird flu in India, following the first reported case in 2019.

While H9N2 typically causes mild illness, the WHO warned that sporadic human cases may continue to occur, given the virus's prevalence in poultry across various regions.

The H9N2 strain is a subtype of the avian influenza virus, commonly found in birds. Direct contact with infectious animals or indirect interaction with contaminated environments are the two ways that the virus spreads.

Common symptoms of H9N2 are familiar to other viral infections. Individuals may experience fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and headache. Other symptoms could include muscle aches, fatigue, and conjunctivitis.

H9N2 is less hazardous to public health due to its comparatively lower pathogenicity, but regular observation is still necessary because of its global distribution and human infection potential.

Multiple techniques are used to manage and treat H9N2 avian influenza. Antiviral medications like zanamivir (Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu) can be helpful, especially if used early in the course of the illness. It's also critical to provide supportive care, which includes relaxation, adequate hydration, and treatment of fever and respiratory problems.

In severe circumstances, the patient may need to be admitted to the hospital for intensive care and respiratory support in order to obtain the essential medical attention to adequately manage the infection.

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