24 Nov 2023

Health Ministry monitoring surge in respiratory illnesses among children in China

The Union Health Ministry is actively monitoring the reported surge in H9N2 cases and clusters of respiratory illnesses among children in northern China. It has been determined that there is a low risk to India from both the avian influenza cases reported in China as well as the clusters of respiratory illnesses.

No identification of an unusual pathogen

Despite media reports suggesting a concentration of respiratory illness cases in Chinese children, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a statement clarifying that, based on current information, there has been an increase in respiratory diseases in China over the past few weeks. However, there has been no identification of any unusual pathogen or unexpected clinical manifestations.

Preparedness measures discussed

In response to a human case of H9N2 (Avian influenza virus) reported to WHO in October 2023 in China, a meeting was recently convened under the Chairmanship of the Director General of Health Services. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss preparedness measures against potential human cases of Avian Influenza in India. The overall risk assessment by WHO indicates a low probability of human-to-human spread and a low case fatality rate among reported human cases of H9N2.

Recognizing the importance of strengthening surveillance in the human, animal husbandry, and wildlife sectors, the meeting highlighted the need for improved coordination in response to the evolving situation.

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