The country has been witnessing a sudden rise in Covid and H3N2 cases, which has become a cause of concern for experts. Even though the cases reported remain very low, India has recorded a 63% jump in cases over the last week, ending Sunday.
Even though the cases reported remain very low, India has recorded a 63 per cent jump in cases over the last week, ending Sunday.
While speaking to news agency ANI on H3N2, chairman, Institute of Internal Medicine and Respiratory and Sleep Medicine and Director of Medical Education, Dr Randeep Guleria, said that this virus mutates every year during this time and spreads through droplets.
“So, currently we are seeing an increase in the number of cases of influenza, which is basically presenting fever, sore throat cough, body aches and runny nose history and is a type of influenza-virus, which we see every year during this time of the year. But it is a virus with changes over time, it mutates over time and what we call an antigenic drift,” said Randeep Guleria to the agency.
:ICMR Says ‘Influenza A Subtype H3N2’ Causing Respiratory Illness, Fever | All You Need to Know
Dr Guleria explained that India witnessed a H1N1 pandemic many years back. “That circulating strain of that virus is now H3N2 and therefore it is a normal influenza strain. But we are seeing more cases because as the virus mutates a little bit, the immunity that we had against the virus becomes a little less and therefore people, who are susceptible, tend to get infection more easily,” said Dr Guleria.
The expert said the virus spreads through droplets but it’s not a cause of concern because the number of cases did not amount to spike in hospitalisation.
“So in the festive season and we are only just around the corner. I would really say that people should celebrate Holi but they should be careful especially the elderly and those who have underlying comorbid conditions like chronic respiratory diseases, heart problems, patients have kidney problems or dialysis, they need to be careful about going into a crowded place and getting exposure,” Dr Guleria was quoted as saying to ANI.
On Wearing Masks
The expert said that during this time of the year, when the weather changes, there is a higher chance of getting influenza. Also, he alerted the citizens that since we are back to a non-Covid state now, where we are not wearing masks, it might allow the virus to spread more easily.
“Therefore, if we need to really prevent yourselves from getting influenza. We need to wear a mask if we’re going to crowded places. We also need to wash our hands frequently and also have physical distancing, if we are a more susceptible population, for influenza also there is a vaccine for the high-risk group and the elderly,” the expert told the agency.
Covid Cases See Upward Tick
Over the past three weeks, there has been a upward tick in Covid-19 infections in India. Even though overall cases reported remain very low, 1,898 new cases were reported last week and there has been no increase in fatalities.
As per data mentioned in a TOI report, the country, however, saw a week-on-week spike of 63 per cent Covid cases in last seven days, ending Sunday. Last week, there was a After a 39 per cent rise cases and in a 13 per cent rise in the week before. South India and Maharashtra has reported the most cases.
On March 4, India logged more than 300 fresh Covid cases after 97 days.
States on Alert Mode; Mask Mandate Returns
States are on alert mode in view of rising H3N2 flu and Covid cases ahead of Holi festival in which people are expected to gather in large numbers. Karnataka government on Monday imposed some curbs and made face masks for health workers mandatory amid the rising spread of H3N2 variant of Influenza in the state.
The state government also issued an advisory to avoid unnecessary gatherings.
In Telangana’s Hyderabad, a hospital reported more than 600 cases of viral flu last week. Superintendent of Government Fever Hospital, Shankar, said, patients are reporting symptoms like runny nose, headache, body pains, abdominal pain, vomiting, and loose motions.
:As Spring Influenza Cases Increase Rapidly, Know The Symptoms
Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar also imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC across the district, restricting public gatherings. The prohibitory orders which came into effect on March 1 will remain in force till March 31.
“Section 144 imposed in Gautam Buddh Nagar with immediate effect till March 31 in view to maintain law & order and ensure adherence to COVID rules in view of upcoming festivals,” the Gautam Buddh Nagar Police Commissionerate said, as quoted by ANI.
In Tamil Nadu, the health department has planned over 1,000 fever camps on March 10 in the wake of reported increase in fever cases, Medical and Family Welfare Minister Ma Subramanian said. The minister said mobile fever clinics would be deployed in 200 places on the day aimed at benefitting members of the public in the city.