The government announced on Friday that two deaths in India had been linked to the influenza A subtype H3N2 virus, one each in the states of Karnataka and Haryana. It further mentioned that this virus has been reported in about 90 cases nationwide.
Just a few days prior, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) declared that the recent increase in cases of severe cough lasting more than a week together with fever, in numerous districts of India, can be attributed to the influenza A subtype H3N2 virus.
“It is time for continuing COVID-era preventive practises since we have to progressively live with developing viruses,” Dr. Nikhil Modi, Consultant in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in Delhi, said in an interview with The Indian Express. He also added that there is no reason to panic and that one should refrain from taking arbitrary medications.
The H3N2 virus: what is it?
The four varieties of influenza viruses that produce the contagious illness known as the flu are A, B, C, and D. The H3N2 subtype of influenza A is one of several subtypes of influenza A. The 1968 flu pandemic, which claimed 100,000 lives in the US and about one million worldwide, was caused by H3N2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US.
According to a 2020 study that was published in the journal Nature Communications, the virus strains have substantially changed over the previous five decades as a result of persons born in the late 1960s and early 1970s becoming infected with it as youngsters.
What H3N2 symptoms are present?
Similar to other flu symptoms, it has some of the same ones. They consist of a runny or stuffy nose, runny or feverish nose, body ache, headache, sore throat, and excessive exhaustion. In very few instances, nauseousness, vomiting, and diarrhea have been observed.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) states that an H3N2 infection typically lasts five to seven days, with the fever beginning to subside after three days. Coughing, however, can continue for up to three weeks.
Who is more vulnerable as they become older?
According to the IMA, this virus typically preys on those under the age of 15 or over the age of 50. Risk factors include being a child, having comorbid illnesses like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, a weaker immune system, and neurological or neurodevelopmental disorders.
How can it be stopped from spreading?
Self-hygiene, according to Dr. Modi, is the most effective strategy to stop the spread of H3N2. One can prevent getting sick from the H3N2 infection by washing their hands before eating or touching their face, nose, or mouth, carrying pocket sanitizer, and avoiding others who have the virus or any other seasonal flu. A healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables can also significantly contribute to boosting immunity. The doctor also suggested eating home-cooked, low-spice, low-fat food and drinking lots of water.