Explained: What is H9N2, which has infected an Indian child?

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News:Indian scientists have detected the country’s first case of infection with a rare variant of the virus called A(H9N2) that causes avian influenza or bird flu.

Facts:

About A(H9N2) Virus:

  • H9N2 is a subtype of influenza A virus that causes human influenza as well as bird flu.
  • The subtype was isolated for the first time in Wisconsin,US in 1966 from turkey flocks.
  • According to NCBI US,H9N2 viruses are found worldwide in wild birds and are endemic in poultry in many areas.However, they are somewhat neglected. 

H9N2 in Humans:

  • H9N2 influenza virus can be transmitted by air droplets, dust, feed or water.
  • However, the H9N2 virus infections in humans are rare but likely under-reported due to typically mild symptoms of the infections. 
  • The first case globally was reported from Hong Kong in 1998.The cases have also been observed in Hong Kong, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Egypt.
  • Recently,the virus was detected in India during a community-based surveillance study in villages of Korku tribes in Melghat district of Maharashtra.