H9N2 Bird Flu in India: Causes, Symptoms & Stay Protected

H9N2 Bird Flu in India: Causes, Symptoms & Stay Protected

Recently on Tuesday, The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed a human case of bird flu in India. This bird flu is caused by the H9N2 virus. This H9N2 virus bird flu is detected in four-year-old children from West Bengal. He is the first case of this year. India’s first bird flu infection was reported in 2019.

The child has been hospitalised from February with respiratory symptoms as well as high fever. After three months of treatment, he was discharged from the hospital.

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Bird Flu in India: WHO’s Golden Rules, Symptoms, Causes, Prevention

What is the H9N2 virus(bird flu virus)?

H9N2 virus is a subtype of the influenza A virus that primarily affects birds, but occasionally it also affects humans. H9N2 virus bird flu is not only reported in India. It has been identified in many countries like China, Vietnam, etc. Mainly, it is circulated from the poultry. Infected four year old children also get infected by the Poultry only. However, H9N2 virus infection or flu is very rare to see in humans, but it occurs in some cases and affects the respiratory system. That is why, it is essential to say aware of it and stay away from the poultry

H9N2 virus Transmission: H9N2 virus can be transmitted to humans by direct contact of infected poultry or contaminated environment. Well, this subtype is not as highly pathogenic as others, like H5N1 or H7N9. But it is good to follow precautions. It causes less severe disease in birds and humans. 

However, researchers are still continuing to find the molecular mechanisms of H9N2 and its interactions with other influenza viruses. Scientists and researchers are focusing on its pathogenicity, transmission dynamics, and potential to adapt to human hosts. The main research on the same is to develop effective vaccines for both poultry and humans. Having a vaccine or antiviral treatment can help to manage infection and transmission. 

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Preventative Measures for Bird Flu Virus

To lower the risk of bird flu virus or H9N2 infections, experts are recommending rigorous surveillance of poultry populations and swift response to any outbreaks. The main focus should be on Vaccination of poultry, strict biosecurity measures, and public awareness campaigns. Health organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) continue to monitor the situation and educate the public.

Here is some of the presentation method that you can try to save yourself from bird flu

  • Avoid Direct Contact with Birds: Try to avoid touching the bird, especially those who are sick or dead. In addition, stay away from the live bird markets like poultry, etc.
  • Practise Good Hygiene: It is advice to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact with birds or poultry products. Moreover, you can also use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if you are unable to wash right away. 
  • Cook Poultry Thoroughly: If you cook or eat Cook Poultry products, then take proper precautions. Cook your poultry product, like eggs, and meat at the internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to kill any potential viruses. Say no to raw or undercooked poultry products now and always.
  • Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): If you work on the polity farm, then you suggest you Wear gloves, masks, and protective clothing while handling the birds, etc. Always dispose of your PPE after every use. Do not repeat them.
  • Disinfect Surfaces and Equipment: Just cleaning yourself is not enough. You need to clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment too which have been in contact with birds. You can use appropriate disinfectants to kill the virus from the Surfaces and Equipment.
  • Stay Informed: Stay updated with the latest data released by the health authorities and organisations like the WHO and CDC for your safety.
  • Limit Exposure in High-Risk Areas: Say no to visiting live bird markets or farms in regions with bird flu outbreaks. If you are travelling, you need to stay aware of whether a particular region has bird flu outbreaks or not. If still, it is necessary for you to travel or visit there, take all precautions for your safety.
  • Monitor Health: Do not underestimate any symptoms of your body. Watch for symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, and respiratory issues. Bird flu virus mainly affects the respiratory system. If you notice any respiratory symptoms, immediately consult with the doctor.
  • Vaccination: Vaccination is a key to any infection and disease. However, there has been no vacation till now for this H9N2 virus. Still, you can get vaccinated against seasonal influenza. It will protect you from bird flu at some point.

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