Surge in H3N2 Virus in India
Surge in H3N2 Virus in India – Precautions & Prevention
Although not quite as alarming as the covid waves, there is a definite concern with regard to the surging numbers of the H3N2 influenza virus in India. The H3NV virus, is a non-human influenza virus that has now infected human beings as well. While, in its current form the virus strain is as normal as a common flu, its virulent nature has brought about a major concern amongst everyone.
Symptoms of H3N2
The influenza virus causes symptoms such as fever, headache, running nose, sore throat, nausea, diarrhoea and persistent cough amongst others. Given the similarity of the symptoms with the common seasonal flu, in many cases the patients end-up ignoring the illness in the initial stages.
Complications of H3N2
The H3N2 virus currently results in similar discomfort as the common influenza infection. However, in some vulnerable patients it can lead to severe respiratory distress and associated complications.
Treatment for H3N2
The current treatment for the H3N2 virus is a prescription of the same influenza antiviral drugs that are used to treat seasonal flu. It is advised that a patient must undertake an H3N2 test at the onset of the symptoms, because early detection and treatment results in improved patient-outcomes.
Risk of Contracting H3N2
The elderly, young children, pregnant women, and those with long-term health complications such as asthma, heart-disease, pulmonary ailments, and being immunocompromised remain at a greater risk of contracting the H3N2 virus when compared to the general population.
Increasing Cases in India
Currently, in the first two months of 2023 about 1000 cases of the H3N2 virus strain have been detected in India and the same has been on an increasing trajectory. Most of the cases so far have been detected in states such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala, and Punjab. All other states and citizens have been advised greater vigilance and precaution, in the interim.
Staying Safe from H3N2 Virus
Prevention as they say is the best defence, we currently have against the H3N2 virus strain. Continued wearing of masks, social distancing, personal & public hygiene, and early testing are some of the primary modalities of prevention & safety against the H3N2 strain. While, there is no vaccine currently available, there are plans afoot to develop some preventive immunization option for improved projection for at least the vulnerable sections of the population.