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Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Monday held a meeting with the technical advisory committee (consisting of experts) and senior officials after 26 people tested positive for Influenza A H3N2 variant virus infection in the state. The guidelines regarding the same will be released soon, said Sudhakar.
The rising cases of persistent cough lasting for more than a week coupled with fever can be linked to H3N2. Sudhakar said that children under 15 years and citizens about 65 years of age and pregnant women are more likely to get affected.
According to experts of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), intense cough, occasionally accompanied by fever, is due to Influenza A subtype H3N2. ICMR scientists said that the H3N2, which has been in circulation across the country for the last few months, induces more hospitalisations than other subtypes.
Symptoms of H3N2 influenza include cough, sore throat, fever, stuffy or runny nose, fatigue, headache and chills. Some individuals can also experience diarrhoea and vomiting.
The Karnataka Health Minister, while advising people not to panic, said that spread of infection can be avoided through measures such as preventing crowding, cleanliness, and hand hygiene.
He also advised people to avoid exposure to the sun from 11 am to 3 pm due to the rise in temperature and drink at least 2-3 litres of water, buttermilk, and fruit juices.
Influenza A subtype H3N2 is the major cause of current respiratory illness. ICMR-DHR established pan respiratory virus surveillance across 30 VRDLs. Surveillance dashboard is accessible at https://t.co/Rx3eKefgFf@mansukhmandviya @DrBharatippawar @MoHFW_INDIA @DeptHealthRes pic.twitter.com/3ciCgsxFh0— ICMR (@ICMRDELHI) March 3, 2023
For specific doctors and hospital staff, vaccines will be provided by the government. The vaccine was provided till 2019 and was discontinued after the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Now it will resume in all 31 districts," Sudhakar said adding that a committee has been set up to cap the price of testing for this new infection.
"We are taking measures to ensure that testing is available at low rates... the fee for the examination will be fixed after the report is received from the committee," the Minister said.