Symptoms of Avian Flu in a Four-Year-Old Boy

India has reported a new human case of avian influenza A H9N2, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The boy, who had previously been diagnosed with hyperreactive airway disease, presented himself to a pediatrician on January 26 with fever and abdominal pain. He developed convulsions on January 29 and was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit of a local hospital on February 1 due to severe breathing difficulty, high fever, and abdominal cramps.

The boy was diagnosed with post-infectious bronchiolitis caused by viral pneumonia and tested positive for influenza B and adenovirus on February 2. However, he was readmitted to the hospital on March 3 for a respiratory relapse and was intubated in another hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. On March 5, a nasopharyngeal swab was sent for testing and it tested positive for influenza A and rhinovirus. Further testing at the National Influenza Center of the National Institute of Virology in Pune detected influenza A virus H9N2. The child had been exposed to poultry in and around the home.

The WHO received an alert from India’s National Focal Point required by International Health Regulations on May 22 about this case. This is the second human infection with avian influenza A H9N2 reported to WHO from India, after a previous case in 2019. The infected patient has recovered and been discharged from the hospital, but there is concern that further cases may occur sporadically as avian influenza virus circulates widely among poultry in several regions.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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