Health ministry closely monitoring pneumonia cases in China; risk to India low | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Health ministry closely monitoring pneumonia cases in China; risk to India low

Nov 24, 2023 03:54 PM IST

The need for strengthening surveillance among human, animal husbandry and wild life sectors has been recognised as a matter of abundant precaution

New Delhi: India is closely monitoring reported cases of pneumonia in children in China and is prepared to deal with any exigency, said Union health ministry in a statement on Friday, adding that there was low risk to India as per the assessment so far.

Medical staff in protective suits treat a patient with pneumonia (Reuters Photo/Representational image)
Medical staff in protective suits treat a patient with pneumonia (Reuters Photo/Representational image)

“Union Health Ministry is closely monitoring outbreak of H9N2 and clusters of respiratory illness in children in China. There is low risk to India from both the avian influenza case reported from China as well as the clusters of respiratory illness. India is prepared for any kind of exigency that may emerge from the current situation,” the health ministry statement said.

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“Based on the currently 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.”

According to people familiar with the matter, a meeting was recently held under the chairmanship of directorate general of health services, the technical wing of health ministry, 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 2023 in China that was reported to WHO.

Also Read: On China pneumonia outbreak, scientists caution to not press ‘pandemic panic button’

In a statement issued by WHO, the overall risk assessment by the UN health body indicates a low probability of human to human spread and low case fatality rate among human cases of H9N2 reported to WHO so far.

The need for strengthening surveillance among human, animal husbandry and wild life sectors and improving coordination has been recognised as a matter of abundant precaution.

“India is prepared for any kind of public health exigency. 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,” the statement said.

“PM-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM) was launched… which is developing capacities of health systems and institutions across the continuum of care at all levels, primary, secondary and tertiary, to prepare health systems in responding effectively to the current and future pandemics /disasters. In addition, India’s surveillance and detection networks under Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) have rich experience of dealing with challenging health situations during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Rhythma Kaul works as an assistant editor at Hindustan Times. She covers health and related topics, including ministry of health and family welfare, government of India.

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