Low risk to India from recent outbreak of child respiratory illness in neighbouring country
Govt says, Closely monitoring the situation, Prepared for any public health exigency
Manoj Kumar Pathak @ EW News:
New Delhi : After covid it’s the outbreak of child respiratory illness in China, which has gripped the psyche of the country. Though the Union health ministry stated that there is a “low risk” to the country from the recent outbreak of H9N2 and pneumonia cases in China. The ministry is closely monitoring the situation and has observed a rise in respiratory illnesses among children in northern China. There have been no unusual pathogens or unexpected clinical manifestations identified so far. The World Health Organization has requested data from Chinese authorities and advised citizens to take precautions. India is prepared for any public health emergency and has strengthened its surveillance and detection networks.
The Union health ministry on Friday said it is closely monitoring the outbreak of H9N2 and clusters of respiratory illness in children in northern China. There is a low risk to India from both the avian influenza case reported in China as well as the clusters of respiratory illness, it said. India, the ministry said, is prepared for any kind of exigency that may emerge from the current influenza situation in that country.
Some media reports have indicated clustering of cases of respiratory illness in children in northern China for which the World Health Organization (WHO) has also issued a statement, it said. Based on available information, an increase in incidence of respiratory diseases in China has been reported in the last few weeks. “The usual causes of respiratory illness in children have been implicated and there has been no identification of an unusual pathogen or any unexpected clinical manifestations,” the ministry said.
Recently, a meeting was held under the Directorate General of Health Services to discuss the preparedness measures against human cases of avian influenza in the country against the backdrop of a human case of H9N2 (avian influenza virus) in October in China that was reported to the WHO, it said. “The overall risk assessment by the WHO indicates a low probability of human to human spread and low case fatality rate among human cases of H9N2 reported to the WHO so far. The need for strengthening surveillance among human, animal husbandry and wildlife sectors and improving coordination was recognised. India is prepared for any kind of public health exigency,” the ministry added. India is embarking on a ‘One Health’ approach to adopt a holistic and integrated roadmap towards addressing such public health issues. There has also been a significant strengthening of health infrastructure especially since the Covid pandemic, it said.