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Current Affairs

H9N2 virus

Date: 13 January 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Indian scientists have detected the country’s first case of infection with a rare variant of the virus that causes avian influenza, or bird flu.

 

Background

Scientists of the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, have reported avian influenza A(H9N2) virus infection in a 17-month-old boy in Maharashtra.

 

Details

  • The virus was picked up in February 2019 during a community-based surveillance study in 93 villages of Korku tribes in Melghat district of Maharashtra.

  • Identification of the first clinical human case of H9N2 virus infection highlights the importance of systemic surveillance in humans and animals to monitor this threat to human health.

H9N2

  • H9N2 is a subtype of the influenza A virus, which causes human influenza as well as bird flu. The H9N2 subtype was isolated for the first time in Wisconsin, US in 1966 from turkey flocks.

  • H9N2 viruses are found worldwide in wild birds and are endemic in poultry in many areas. However, they are somewhat neglected.

  • With avian influenza viruses circulating in poultry, there is a risk for sporadic infection and small clusters of human cases due to exposure to infected poultry or contaminated environments.

  • H9N2 virus infections in humans are rare, but likely under-reported due to typically mild symptoms of the infections. Cases of human infection have been observed in Hong Kong, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Egypt.