Influenza sub-type H3N2, generally called Hong Kong Flu, is causing a surge in hospitalizations due to respiratory illness over India. H3N2 is responsible for at least 92 % of all severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and outpatient influenza-like illnesses. It is causing more hospitalizations than other influenza subtypes. Currently, it caused 2 deaths in India - Karnataka and Haryana.
India against H3N2 :-
India sees the virus as “Seasonal Influenza”. The Union Health Ministry recently included the virus in the IDSP network to monitor and track its status. ICMR issued advisories on precautions to be taken against preventing influenza. The GoI is expecting the cases to decline by March.
Also, guidelines has been provided to categorise cases. Health Ministry has advised the state governments to vaccinate the health care workers who are working with H1N1 cases.
Reason of H3N2 called seasonal influenza:-
Every year, India witnesses influenza peaks in the months of January to March due to cold weather. As the temperature in the atmosphere reduces, the human body will not get enough heat for its normal functioning. The digestion process slows down and eventually, immunity levels fall down. Due to reduced immunity, the common cold and fever viruses like Influenza can easily attack. As the Influenza Sub-type H3N2 virus is spreading due to this reason of reduced immunity, GoI categorises it as seasonal influenza.
Symptoms of this Influenza :-
The symptoms of H3N2 include fever, cough, breathlessness, wheezing, and clinical signs of pneumonia. This virus was responsible for causing the 1968 pandemic that resulted in the deaths of over a million people. This flu pandemic is known as Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968. It originated in China in July of that year.
10% of the H3N2 cases demanded oxygen. 7% demanded ICU care. 92% complained of fever. 27% complained of breathlessness. If the treatment was started early, the disease can be easily cured.
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