H3N2 Influenza Claims 2 Lives in Karnataka, Haryana; India’s First Deaths Due to the Virus

New Delhi: Two persons were reported to have died of influenza caused by the H3N2 virus, Union Health Ministry sources declared on Friday. One person died in Haryana while the other succumbed to the disease in Karnataka.

Hire Gowda (82) died in Karnataka’s Hasan district on March 1. Till now, around 90 cases of the H3N2 virus infection have been reported in India. Added to it, eight cases of the H1N1 virus have also been detected.

In recent months there has been a rapid rise in cases of flu in the country. Most of them are caused by the H3N2 virus, also known as the “Hong Kong flu”. It is causing more hospitalisations than other influenza subtypes.

Only H3N2 and H1N1 infections cause symptoms similar to Covid, which caused 6.8 million deaths. The symptoms include persistent cough, fever, chills, breathlessness, and wheezing. Patients have also reported nausea, sore throat, body-ache, and diarrhoea. These symptoms can continue for about a week.

H3N2 virus is highly contagious and spreads through coughing, sneezing and close contact with an infected person. Doctors advise Covid-like precautions, including regular washing of hands and masks to check its infection.

The infection may be dangerous for high-risk groups like aged adults and younger children as well as people with weak immune system. The IMA has advised doctors not to prescribe antibiotics to patients before confirming whether the infection is bacterial, as they can develop a resistance.

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