Influenza viruses are generally considered self-limiting and mild. “But this year, patients suffering from the infection are reporting prolonged cough, persistent fever and other complications. Hospitalizations have also increased, requiring increased vigilance,” said Dr. GC Khilnani, president of the PSRI Institute of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine.
One of the reasons for the increased virulence of seasonal flu is the predominance of H3N2, a subtype of the influenza A virus, which causes more hospitalizations than other subtypes, senior ministry officials said. of Health.
According to the ministry, the ICMR laboratory network routinely monitors human influenza virus in patients with severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) and influenza-like illness (ILI). The trends observed since the beginning of this year, from January 2 to March 5, clearly suggest a predominance of H3N2, which represents nearly 79% of all influenza viruses found in samples taken from people with SARI or SG. Influenza B Victoria (14%), a subtype of influenza B, is the second most common virus subtype, and influenza A H1N1 (7%), also called swine flu, is the third most common virus. most commonly detected influenza. “Hold a meeting to review the increase in #H3N2 flu virus cases in the country. Advisory issued to States to be alert and closely monitor the situation. Government of India is working with states and extending support for public health measures to address the situation,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted.
Held a meeting to review the increase in #H3N2 influenza virus cases in the country. Advisory issued to states to be on… https://t.co/wLT7Z9MLal
— Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandaviya) 1678451353000
Sources said that Niti Aayog, the Indian government’s top public policy think tank, will also hold an inter-ministerial meeting on Saturday to review the seasonal flu situation in the states and find ways to further support them in terms of of public health measures, guidelines and management protocols to manage the increasing cases of viral infection that causes symptoms such as fever, cough, wheezing and shortness of breath, among others.
H3N2 flu symptoms, treatment and safety precautions
Oseltamivir is the drug recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the treatment of illnesses caused by influenza A. The Ministry of Health said that the drug is made freely available through the system of public health. “The government authorized the sale of oseltamivir under Schedule H1 of the Medicines and Cosmetics Act in February 2017 for wider accessibility and availability. Adequate logistics are available with the states. However, in times of emergency, the Indian government has provided the support to the states to overcome the crisis,” the ministry said in a statement.
Dr. Nivedita Gupta, head of epidemiology at ICMR, recently told TOI that the wave of infections caused by H3N2 is likely to decrease from the end of March or the first week of April, to as the temperature begins to rise.
According to the ICMR, which conducted a survey of patients hospitalized with ILI and later confirmed positive for H3N2, 92% of patients had fever, 86% had cough, 27% shortness of breath, 16% wheezing. In addition, ICMR monitoring revealed that 16% of these patients had pneumonia and 6% had seizures. “About 10% of patients with severe acute respiratory infections caused by H3N2 needed oxygen and 7% needed intensive care,” said health research agency Apex.
H3N2 becomes concern, health experts advise wearing a mask: RML hospital director