NEW DELHI: In view of the risk of the H3N2 influenza virus spread in the changing weather conditions, Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj issued an advisory on Friday advising children and the elderly to take special precautions.
Although not many cases of this virus have been reported in the government hospitals of Delhi, strict instructions have been given to the District Surveillance Units, health facilities and government hospitals to monitor and prevent the spread of this seasonal influenza.
Addressing a press conference, Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said, "This is the season of influenza. This type of seasonal influenza runs all over the world. At present, not many cases of influenza have been reported in the government hospitals of Delhi, so we do not need to panic and worry."
"We just have to be careful and responsible. Patients with flu-like symptoms and patients with severe respiratory complaints will be monitored in the OPD and IPD of hospitals in all districts of Delhi to ensure early screening. If early rising trends are seen anywhere, they will be detected well in time," he added.
Bharadwaj said that currently H1N1 influenza and H3N2 influenza are spreading widely in the country.
Generally, its first peak time comes from January to March and the second peak comes at the end of the monsoon.
This peak decreases till the end of March. "This time, many patients with influenza are coming, whose medical history has diseases related to the lungs, serious conditions due to corona, and asthma, which is affecting them more. People are seeing symptoms like fever, cough for a long time, increased mucus production, watery nose, headache, body ache, etc. Elderly people above 65 years of age and children below 5 years of age need to be more careful with influenza. At the same time, people complaining of lung disease also need to be cautious," said the Delhi Health Minister.
He said that the central government has issued a Covid advisory in six States - Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Gujarat. However, Delhi is not included in these states.
The Delhi government, Bharadwaj said has got the genome sequencing done of the samples of the current coronavirus.
"This variant is non-hazardous. But still advisory is being issued by the Delhi Government for the safety of the people. The symptoms of influenza are similar to those of corona infection and the prevention of corona and influenza are the same. In such a situation, people should avoid going to crowded places. If you have a cough and cold, do not touch public things in public places. Keep washing your hands from time to time. Do not put your hands on your nose, eyes, mouth, etc," he said.
He added, "if people follow these precautions, then we will be able to stop Influenza as well and can also stop Corona at the very beginning. Although the variant of Corona is non-dangerous, as a precautionary measure, the Kejriwal government has also advised people in Delhi to be cautious. District surveillance units, health facilities, and government hospitals have been instructed to monitor the situation daily. Soon advertisements will be given in newspapers and FM radio in different languages regarding this. Awareness will be spread among people through advertisements."
The symptoms of this virus are similar to the coronavirus of Covid-19. In the advisory issued by the government, it has been told that H3N2 is characterized by high fever, prolonged cough, increased mucus production, runny nose, headache, nausea, loss or loss of appetite, and body aches, stated the Delhi Health Minister.
"The virus can have symptoms. In the ongoing advisory, it has been told that the risk of the H3N2 influenza virus is high for certain people. These include asthma and lung infection patients, elderly people, pregnant women, and children," said Bharadwaj.
Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory tract infection caused by 4 distinct types -- Influenza A, B, C and D belonging to the Orthomyxoviridae family.
Among these types, Influenza A is the most common pathogen for humans. Globally, influenza cases are typically seen to increase during certain months of the year. India usually witnesses two peaks of seasonal influenza: one from January to March and another one in the post-monsoon season.
According to the Union Health Ministry, the cases arising from seasonal influenza are expected to decline from March end. In most cases, the disease is self-limiting with symptoms of cough and cold, body ache and fever etc, and usually resolves within a week or so.
However, potentially high-risk groups such as infants, young children, pregnant women, elderly above the age of 65 years and people with comorbidities might experience more symptomatic illnesses requiring hospitalization also.
Disease transmission is mostly airborne from person to person, through large droplets generated by the act of coughing and sneezing. Other modes of transmission, include indirect contact by touching a contaminated object or surface (fomite transmission), and close contact including handshaking.
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