New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry on Friday (November 24), said that it is closely monitoring the reported outbreak of H9N2 cases (novel avian influenza virus) and clusters of respiratory illnesses in children in China. The Ministry said that India is at low risk from the avian influenza cases. The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) recently held a meeting to discuss the preparedness measures against the Avian Influenza in the country against the backdrop of a case in October 2023 reported from China. The Union Health Ministry stated,
India is prepared for any kind of public health emergency. India is embarking on a One Health approach to adopt a holistic and integrated roadmap towards addressing such public health issues.
The Ministry said that the healthcare infrastructure in the country has been strengthened, especially since the COVID pandemic. Additionally, the Prime Minister Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM) was launched to develop the capacities of health systems and institutions at primary, secondary and tertiary levels for responding to any future outbreaks.
What Is H9N2 And How Is One Contracts It?
H9N2 is a subtype of the influenza A virus, which causes human influenza as well as bird flu. According to the US National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), H9N2 virus is found worldwide in wild birds and are endemic in poultry in many areas.
A recent Lancet study stated that Poultry is considered a genetic incubator for the origin of the H9N2 novel avian influenza virus that infects humans.
What Are The Symptoms Of H9N2 And How To Prevent Contracting It?
According to the World Health Organisation, exposure to the avian influenza virus can lead to infections ranging from mild, flu-like symptoms or eye inflammation to severe, acute respiratory disease or death. The severity of the disease depends on the virus causing the infection and the characteristics of the infected individual.
To prevent contracting the virus, individuals must minimise contact with animals in areas known to be affected by animal influenza viruses, including farms and settings where live animals may be sold or slaughtered, the WHO states. Maintaining personal and hand hygiene, including washing hands with soap, before and after contact with animals is essential to avoid being infected by the virus, the WHO states.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.