H3N2 Virus: Causes, symptoms and preventive measures - all you need to know
India has recorded two deaths due to the Influenza A subtype H3N2 virus, the government said on Friday
India has recorded two deaths due to the Influenza A subtype H3N2 virus, the government said on Friday.
While one person died in Karnataka, other died in Haryana, the Union Health Ministry confirmed. Till now, at least 90 cases of the virus have been reported across the country. Medical experts have cited the change in weather conditions as one of the major reasons for the prevalence of the virus.
Earlier, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) announced that the recent uptick in the cases of intense cough lasting for over a week coupled with fever, in several parts of India, can be linked to the Influenza A subtype H3N2 virus.
What is the H3N2 virus?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), H3N2 is a variant of the common flu caused due to Influenza A virus which is a type of the larger Influenza viruses which includes 1, B, C and D.
As per the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), H3N2 caused the 1968 flu pandemic that led to the death of around one million people globally and about 100,000 in the US.
Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses that circulate in all parts of the world, says WHO.
What are the symptoms of H3N2?
Patients infected with H3N2 display symptoms similar to COVID-19: fever, cough, breathlessness, wheezing and pneumonia. The Health Ministry has advised social distancing and mask wearing to prevent the spread of the virus.
According to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the H3N2 infection generally lasts for five to seven days and the fever starts going away after three days. However, the coughing can persist for up to three weeks.
As per the IMA, this virus usually targets individuals below the age of 15 years or above 50 years of age. Children and those with with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions are at a higher risk. The group also includes pregnant women.
How to prevent H3N2?
The most effective way to prevent the spread is vaccination. Moreover, those not in the high-risk group are advised to minimise contact with others. To prevent spread, face masks, and frequent hand washing are advised. High-risk individuals should seek immediate medical help.
Oseltamivir, a drug used to treat H1N1, has been recommended by the World Health Organization for the treatment of H3N2 cases as well, the Health Ministry said.
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