A total of 3,038 lab-confirmed cases of various subtypes of influenza including H3N2 have been reported till March 9 by the states, as per the latest data available on IDSP-IHIP (Integrated Health Information Platform).
This includes 1,245 cases in January; 1,307 in February and 486 cases till March 9.
A real-time surveillance of cases of Influenza like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) presenting in OPDs and IPDs of health facilities is undertaken by Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Apart from H3N2 influenza, two other important circulating influenza are Influenza A H1N1, Influenza B Victoria.
The ICMR data, however, reports a combination of respiratory viruses ranging from Covid-19 virus, swine flu (H1N1), H3N2, and the seasonal Victoria and Yamagata lineages of influenza B viruses, as responsible.
Meanwhile, the Covid infection has also reported a spike after four months as daily Covid cases were reported 524 on Sunday.
An integrated surveillance of Influenza like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) for the detection of human influenza virus and SARS-COV-2 virus is ongoing through structured ILI/SARI surveillance network of 28 sites, an official said.
The surveillance network is comprised of 27 DHR-ICMR's Virus Research & Diagnostic Laboratories and country's National Influenza Centre (WHO-NIC) housed at ICMR-National Institute of Virology Pune, also a WHO Collaborating Centre for Global Influenza Surveillance & Response System (GISRS).
During the period of first nine weeks of this year, the surveillance network has monitored the human influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 infection in SARI and ILI cases.
"The IDSP-IHIP data from health facilities indicate that during the month of January 2023, a total of 397,814 cases of Acute Respiratory Illness/Influenza Like Illness (ARI/ILI) were reported from the country that increased slightly to 436,523 during February, 2023. In the first 9 days of March 2023, this number stands at 133,412 cases," the Health Ministry said in a statement.
The weekly data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reveals that H3N2 has of late taken the lead pushing Covid-19 aside.
Besides, of the samples tested for the 9th week, 56 are of H3N2, 13 of Victoria, 5 of Influenza A H1N1.
"Seasonal H3N2 flu is a human flu from H3N2 that is slightly different from one of the previous year's flu season H3N2 variants. Seasonal influenza viruses flow out of overlapping epidemics in East Asia and Southeast Asia, then trickle around the globe before dying off. Identifying the source of the viruses allows global health officials to better predict which viruses are most likely to cause the most disease over the next year," said Shuchin Bajaj, a doctor and director at Ujala Cygnus Hospitals.
Meanwhile, the ministry has said: "Oseltamivir is the drug recommended by WHO. The drug is made available through the Public Health System free of cost. The government has allowed the sale of Oseltamivir under Schedule H1 of Drug and Cosmetic Act in February 2017 for wider accessibility and availability."
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