(Daily News Scan - DNS English) What is H9N2 Avian Influenza Virus?

(Daily News Scan - DNS English) What is H9N2 Avian Influenza Virus?

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

In today’s DNS we will know about this influenza and how is it caused.

H9N2 is a type of influenza A virus that causes human influenza. It may also cause bird flu. According to the US National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), this virus is found worldwide in wild birds and is endemic in poultry in many areas. The H9N2 subtype was isolated for the first time in Wisconsin, US in 1966 from turkey flocks.

The H9N2 virus infections in humans are very rare. It has very mild symptom of infections and this why may be it is reported less. Cases of this infection in human have been spotted in places like Hong Kong, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Egypt. A recent detection of this was made in Oman. The first case was reported from Hong Kong in 1988. Around 28 cases have been reported in China since the year2015. The virus has broadly spread among poultry population. H9N2 virus was prevalent in Bangladesh during 2008-2011. This was found out in a survey of influenza viruses. The virus was also identified in poultry populations in surveillance studies in Myanmar during 2014-16 and Burkina Faso in 2017.

The H9N2 influenza virus is transmitted from chicken to humans in many ways. It can be transmitted by air, dust, feed or water.

Now let us know how this virus was found in India

The virus was picked up in February 2019 during a community-based surveillance study. It was done in 93 villages of Korku tribes in Melghat district of Maharashtra. National Institute of Virology scientists identified A(H9N2) virus infection in one boy. The child was suffering from fever, cough, breathlessness, and difficulty in feeding. As per the NIV scientists, H9N2 viruses have been observed in poultry in India several times.
H9N2 viruses could potentially play a major role in the emergence of the next influenza pandemic.

In the opinion of World health Organization (WHO) 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.