Influenza-like illnesses are spreading rapidly in India. However, finding ways to stay safe from new viruses and preventing a wide range of respiratory problems could save millions of lives across the country.
The Health Ministry warned that an increasing trend of Influenza-like Illnesses, and Severe Acute Respiratory Illnesses is being observed across the country.
H3N2 Influenza Cases are Rising in India
“Under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), as reported by the states and union territories, an increasing trend of ILI/SARI is being observed across the country. Further, as per integrated sentinel based surveillance of ILI and SARI, an upswing of Influenza A is observed since the latter half of December 2022,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in the letter.
“Of particular concern is the preponderance of Influenza A (H3N2) being detected in the samples being analyzed in various labs,” said Bhushan, adding that young children, old-age people and people suffering from co-morbidites are particularly at risk and vulnerable to HIN1, H3N2, Adenoviruses, etc.
Is COVID-19 Still Lurking Around India?
“While the COVID-19 trajectory has decreased substantially in the last few months, the gradual rise in COVID-19 test positivity rates in some states is a concerning issue that needs to be promptly addressed. Despite a low number of new cases, an equally low number of hospitalizations and significant advances made in terms of COVID-19 vaccination coverage, there is still a need to remain vigilant and focus on the fivefold strategy of test-track-treat- vaccination and adherence to COVID appropriate behavior,” the letter reads.
Bhushan further said that while most of these agents typically cause a similar mild and often self-limiting illness, manifesting acute respiratory infection with fever and cough, in some cases, particularly old age people, people with obesity and other co-morbidities, as well as pregnant females may suffer from a more severe manifestation of these diseases requiring hospitalization.
Ways to Prevent Influenza-like Illnesses
The Health Ministry has asked to raise community awareness regarding adherence to respiratory and hand hygiene, promoting early reporting of symptoms, and limiting contact of those people who are suffering from respiratory illness to limit transmission of these diseases.