NEW DELHI: The experts have pointed out that an uptick has been noticed in H3N2 influenza cases in Delhi and NCR region recently, which is affecting people of every age group including children.
Senior consultant of Internal Medicine at Apollo Hospital, Dr S Chatterjee told ANI that most of the recent infections have been diagnosed to be Influenza. "In the last two weeks, there have been a lot of respiratory tract infections happening in the form of fever, cough, runny/blocked nose, body ache and headache. The diagnosis in most of the cases is influenza in the form of Influenza A, H3N2, H1N1 and also some other respiratory viruses," he said.
He said that people with pre-conditions like diabetes and lung problems need to be more careful. "COVID-19 is very infrequent. Most of the cases are responding well to symptomatic care but people with underlying lung problems, cardiac patients, diabetics, elderly and immunocompromised people need to be careful," he added.
Public Health Expert Director at Star Imaging and Path Lab, Dr Sameer Bhati said that among the recent flu cases, the majority of the cases have been found of H3N2. "We have observed an increase in Flu cases where H3N2 is found majorly after diagnosis. We do RT PCR for its confirmation where RNA is extracted from the samples and then it is amplified using RT PCR technology. The results are interpreted on the basis of specific fluorescent dye for each Influenza virus like H1N1, H3N2, H5N1 and H7N9. Generally, when H3N2 dominates the flu cases, the cases are severe for people in At-Risk Groups like older adults and younger children while people with chronic medical issues have more chances of experiencing flu complications due to weak immune systems and may also require hospitalisation," he said.
Senior Consultant at Pediatric Critical Care Unit, Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital, Dr Chandra Sekhar Singha told that children are also getting infected by H3N2. "Influenza virus infection has a range of presentations, from asymptomatic to life-threatening disease. H3N2 infection is a variant of the Influenza A virus. This season we are seeing many cases of H3N2 infection," he said.
He said that these viruses infect children less than five years of age. "Along with other viruses like Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Rhinovirus. They usually infect children less than five years of age and even more those less than two years. Children may have a high-grade fever, cough and cold. Some children are having severe respiratory problems. This is occurring especially among children less than one year of age, and those with the underlying neurological problem and chronic respiratory problem," he said.
Dr Chandra Sekhar Singha said that some children are also requiring hospital admissions. "Even some children require hospital admission for oxygen therapy. H3N2 infection may cause life-threatening viral pneumonia, requiring advanced respiratory support like mechanical ventilator," he added.
Explaining the prevention, he said that visits to crowded places must be avoided, in addition to wearing masks and hand washing. "Infection by H3N2 can be prevented to some extent by avoiding visits to a crowded place, frequent hand washing and wearing a mask. High-risk children, like children with Chronic respiratory disease, Chronic renal disease, and immune deficiency should receive a flu shot on a yearly basis," he further said.