Home » Influenza A subtype H3N2 is the major cause of current respiratory illness: ICMR

Influenza A subtype H3N2 is the major cause of current respiratory illness: ICMR

by Raju Vernekar
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By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Mar 5:

Based on its pan respiratory virus surveillance across 30 Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDLs), the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has stated that the Influenza A subtype H3N2 is the major cause of current respiratory illness in the country.
Surveillance data from December 15, 2022 to date, reflects the rise in the number of cases of Influenza A H3N2. About half of all inpatients, admitted for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), as well as outpatients being treated for influenza-like illness, are found to have influenza A H3N2, ICMR stated in its dashboard information.
This subtype appears to cause more hospitalisation than other influenza subtypes. Of the  hospitalised SARI patients with influenza A H3N2, about 92 per cent presented with fever, 86 per cent with cough, 27 per cent with breathlessness, 16 per cent with wheezing. Additionally, 16 per cent had clinical signs of pneumonia and 6 per cent had seizures. 10 per cent of SARI patients who have H3N2, needed oxygen, while 7 per cent required ICU care. The H3N2 has been in wide circulation for the last two to three months the ICMR stated.
The ICMR report has said that the resistance to powerful antibiotics has risen by up to 10 percent in a year. Besides, the rise of multidrug-resistant pathogens called Acinetobacter baumannii, attacks the lungs of a patient.
Major hospitals in Mumbai are recording 10 to 12 cases of influenza every day and most patients are aged between 25 and 50 years. They have reported symptoms such as high fever, throat pain, cough and cold.
In another development, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in a public advisory dated March 03, posted on social media advised people & medical practitioners to avoid prescription of antibiotics to the patients of with seasonal fever, cold & cough.
The notice pointed out a sudden rise in the number of patients having symptoms such as cough, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, fever, body ache and even Diarrhoea in some cases. It also advised doctors to give only symptomatic treatment and not to prescribe antibiotics to patients.
“The infection usually lasts for about five to seven days. The fever goes away at the end of three days, but the cough can persist for up to three weeks,” IMA stated adding that that it is common to have seasonal cold or cough during October to February period, because of influenza and other viruses.
“People start taking antibiotics like azithromycin and amoxiclav etc., that too without caring for dose and frequency and stop it once they start feeling better. This needs to be stopped as it leads to antibiotic resistance. “Whenever there will be a real use of antibiotic, they will not work due to the resistance,” the notice further read.
The IMA also listed out the misused antibiotics including amoxicillin, norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin which were prescribed for diarrhoea and for urinary tract infection (UTI). The IMA advised avoiding crowded places, practising good hand and respiratory hygiene practices as well as flu vaccination.

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