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WHO Confirms Human Case of Bird Flu in India

Thursday, June 13, 2024 | June 13, 2024 WIB
Global Health Body Sounds Alarm on H9N2 Virus Infection in Young Child

WHO Confirms Human Case of Bird Flu in India
                        Birds Flu Checkup (File Photo) 

New Delhi - The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Tuesday that it has confirmed a human case of bird flu in India caused by the H9N2 virus. A 4-year-old child in West Bengal was found to be infected and has been admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit of a local hospital due to severe respiratory issues.

Second Occurrence Since 2019

This marks the second recorded instance of an H9N2 bird flu infection in humans in India. The first case was reported back in 2019. The WHO stated that while bird flu viruses typically spread among animals, they can on occasion jump to humans as well.

Avian Influenza: Symptoms and Diagnosis

Bird flu, or avian influenza, is caused by influenza Type A viruses that normally circulate among birds. Symptoms in humans can range from mild upper respiratory issues to more severe complications like:

- Conjunctivitis 
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Encephalitis
- Encephalopathy

In severe cases, avian influenza virus infections can prove fatal, the WHO warned. Diagnosis requires laboratory testing utilizing molecular methods outlined in technical guidance from the health agency.

Preventing Transmission

To avoid contracting bird flu, the WHO recommends minimizing contact with animals, particularly in areas where animal influenza viruses are present such as farms and live animal markets. Maintaining good personal and hand hygiene through handwashing before and after animal contact is also crucial.

As a zoonotic disease, close monitoring of bird flu cases jumping to humans is a priority for global health authorities. While still rare, this latest confirmed case in India underscores the need for continued vigilance.
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