AVIAN INFLUENZA (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     25th November 2023        

Context: Recently, the Union health ministry of India stated that it is closely monitoring the reported outbreak of human cases of avian influenza virus (H9N2) and clusters of respiratory illness in children in northern China, assuring that there is a low risk to India from both situations.

Avian Influenza

  • About: Influenza A viruses can be categorized into avian influenza (commonly known as bird flu) and swine influenza (often referred to as swine flu0), depending on their origin host.

oThese viruses are distinct from human influenza viruses and do not readily spread among humans.

  • Classification: The terms "H" and "N" in the names of flu viruses represent hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, two proteins found on the virus's surface that facilitate its entry into and exit from host cells.
  • Initial Components: Hemagglutinin and neuraminidase. 
  • Primary Reservoir: Aquatic birds, and these birds often experience asymptomatic or mild infections.
  • Impacts:

oAvian Influenza outbreaks can lead to devastating consequences for the country, particularly the poultry industry.

oFarmers might experience a high level of mortality in their flocks, with rates often around 50%.

China’s Child Pneumonia Outbreak

  • About: Pneumonia is a lung infection that affects one or both lungs resulting in the filling of air sacs (alveoli) with fluid or pus caused by bacteria and viruses.
  • Symptoms: fever, sore throat, myalgia, fatigue, oose stool and vomiting
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