India’s first case of Avian influenza or Bird flu caused by a rare variety of H9N2 virus has been reported in a 17-month-old boy of Maharashtra. The infection is caused by a rare variety of H9N2 virus, which is a subtype of the influenza A virus that leads to human influenza as well as bird flu. The viruses are found in wild birds and are endemic in poultry in some countries. The report was revealed in the December 2019 issue of the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by scientists of the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.
The scientists of the NIV detected the presence of the virus in February 2019 during a community-based surveillance study in some villages of Melghat district of Maharashtra. They were actually looking for the incidence of deaths caused due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) among children under two years. During the process, they came across the 17-month-old boy, who was affected by avian influenza. At that time, the child was suffering from high fever, cough, breathlessness, and had difficulty in feeding. However, he was fully recovered and immunised with treatment. The scientists conducting a series of laboratory test on the virus confirmed the presence of A (H9N2) virus last month in the journal.
As per NIV scientists, H9N2 viruses have been witnessed in Indian poultry several times, but for the first time, a human case has come up. This infection is mostly transmitted by air droplet, dust, feed, or water.
The first-ever case of H9N2 virus was reported from Hong Kong in 1998. After this, several cases were also reported in Hong Kong, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Egypt. The recent case of infection on a human was reported from Oman. However, China and Hong Kong are majorly affected by this influenza viruses.