Health department issues directives to officials for H3N2 preparedness

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BENGALURU: In view of the H3N2 infections coming to light in the state, the Health Department has issued fresh guidelines to prevent the virus spread. The move comes in the backdrop of a health alert issued by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

With 26 cases of H3N2 infections being detected so far, state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Monday chaired a meeting with medical experts and members of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The guidelines were issued on Monday evening and Sudhakar also tweeted about it.

The guidelines say that the virus is contagious and the infection will persist for about 5-7 days with minimal morbidity and mortality. The high risk population includes infants, elderly, pregnant women, those with immunodeficient conditions and on long-term medication, particularly steroids. The symptoms include fever, chills, loss of appetite, body ache, nausea, sneezing and prolonged dry cough, it said.

In view of increasing cases of seasonal flu, (usually diagnosed as Influenza-A H1N1, H3N2, Influenza-B, RSV and Adeno Virus infections), all district health officers have been asked to ensure:

  • Regular ILI/SARI surveillance with appropriate sample collection for diagnosis and reporting of the same on IDSP-IHIP portal.
  • Sufficient stock of all required doses of Tab Oseltamivir for treatment and PPE for use by Health care workers at all the health facilities.
  • All health care workers working in high risk areas like ICU and isolation wards should be vaccinated with flu vaccine.
  • Compulsory wearing of face mask by all health care workers at health facilities, both public and private.
  • All SARI death cases with Covid-negative test report should be subjected to panel of tests at the nearest Virus Research & Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL).
  • Creating awareness amongst public regarding the symptomatic management of the seasonal flu and to avoid self-medication and unnecessary use of antibiotics.

Since children aged below 15 years are more susceptible to H3N2 infection, medical experts advise that infected children should not be sent to school and it can spread to others very quickly. Body temperature may rise up to 103 degrees Farenheit, but parents should not get worried and should follow medical advise, they said.

Dr Shivananda of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health.

“As far as possible, children with fever, cough and cold should not be sent to school, especially those aged below 5. In infected children, there will be high fever and will last 3-4 days. Parents need not get anxious and should administer only paracetamol as no other antibiotic is required. The children should be given lot of fluids like boiled and cooled water, musambi juice, tender coconut water, etc. The cough may persist for about a week, but cough syrups are not needed and the paracetamol syrup itself is enough. This is a seasonal infection”, said Dr Shivananda of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health.

Also, chicken pox may be witnessed in children if they have skipped the vaccination due to the coronavirus pandemic. Such children should be isolated and treatment protocols followed as per doctors’ advise, they said.

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