H3N2 Outbreak: Odisha Health Dept Asks Collectors To Step Up Surveillance

Bhubaneswar: With 59 cases of H3N2 detected in Odisha, the state government has asked the district authorities to intensify ILI and SARI surveillance and suggested citizens to maintain personal hygiene and avoid crowded places, a top official said.

Health and Family Welfare secretary Shalini Pandit told district collectors and concerned health officials to step up ILI (influenza-like illness) and SARI (Severe Acute Respiratory Infection) surveillance at the health facility level and community level.

Most of the illnesses are mild and self-limiting and  the state government has stressed handwashing, personal hygiene and avoiding crowded places. These are the key measures to be followed like during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pandit said.

District Integrated Disease Surveillance Project units are in readiness and constantly monitoring the situation, the official said adding that labs are kept in readiness to handle any surge in cases.

H1N1 and H3N2 are subtypes of the Influenza A virus. It is a common flu virus found in children and the elderly from December to March, the department said in a statement. The government maintained that influenza virus is a common seasonal virus which caused fever, cough and running nose. In persons with comorbidity or are elderly it may give rise to respiratory complications, it said.

“Ninety of the persons recover by themselves as this viral illness is self-limiting in nature. The rest ten per cent of the cases having ILI and SARI symptoms may develop breathing difficulties, persistent cough and need medicines,” Pandit said. Most of the cases are, however, mild and self-limiting. But masks must be used by immunocompromised and persons suffering from flu-like symptoms, she said.

The state’s 30 drug public health laboratories (DPHL) are continuously monitoring the trend of ILI and SARI cases by testing samples regularly in 23 RTPCR labs and DPHLs for detection of Covid cases, the health secretary said.

The 30 DPHLs are doing H1N1 testing on regular basis. Each of them have the requisite infrastructure and lab logistics to conduct the required tests should a surge in cases is seen in the near future, the department sources said.

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