Hyderabad: Humans are no longer immune to the H7N4 virus as a 68-year-old woman from Beijing was found to have a strain of the virus believed found to be of avian origin that characterised bird flu.
The patient was said to have had contact with live poultry which led to the contraction of the virus. Doctors said more exposure and less immunity was the cause. The women had a ‘dead-end’ infection which meant it would not be transmitted to anyone in contact with her.
General physician Dr K. Sandeep Reddy said, “It is a rare case if a patient contradicted H7N4. H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2 are the only known influenza A virus subtypes circulating among humans. The reason for the rare case could be because all the poultry that we are consuming now is injected with antibiotics which builds a low resistance power and the increased antibiotic consumption of humans also affects immunity. Therefore residents are more prone to fall prey to this virus through the air or through droplets.”
Virus infections of H7N9, H7N2, H7N3 and H7N7 were often reported by patients of Asian lineage and they were known to cause symptoms that include conjunctivitis and upper respiratory tract problems. Other symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain and bleeding from the nose and gums.
“We can easily avoid the virus if we take precautionary measures which we often ignore. While visiting poultry shops, proper hygiene should be followed by wearing gloves and a face mask. Hands should be washed properly and live chickens should be checked to see if they look diseased,” he added. mostly sick chicken will have spots, lack of feathers or would be dirty looking ones. There will also be constant coughing and sneezing,” he added.
In another similar instance, a rare strain of virus, HI10N8 was found in an elderly woman in China itself and she died of pneumonia in December 2013.
General physician Dr T. Unnikrishnan said, “Inhaling in droplets sneezed by infected birds, being in contact with dried droppings, touching an infected live or dead infected bird are all causes for the virus to enter human body. Infected birds are also transported to poultry centres who do not show the bird before delivery, affecting patients. However, most patients respond promptly to antibiotics.”
Highly pathogenic strains of the virus spreaded quickly among birds of the domestic poultry such as chicken, ducks and others. It could destroy a flock within 28 hours through common feed, nasal secretions and others, experts said.