28 Apr 2020

H9N2Quick read

Context: 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, have reported avian influenza A(H9N2) virus infection
  • 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. 
  • The first case globally was reported from Hong Kong in 1998. A total of 28 cases in China have been reported since December 2015
  •  H9N2 viruses are found worldwide in wild birds and are endemic in poultry in many areas.
  • H9N2 viruses could potentially play a major role in the emergence of the next influenza pandemic.
  • According to the 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.
  • H9N2 virus infections in humans are rare, but likely under-reported due to typically mild symptoms of the infections
  • Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a viral infection that can infect not only birds, but also humans and other animals
  • There are many subtypes of avian influenza viruses, but only some strains of five subtypes have been known to infect humans: H5N1, H7N3, H7N7, H7N9, and H9N2


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