The Union Health Ministry said it is keeping a close watch on the seasonal influenza situation in various states/UTs through the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) network on a real-time basis.
The Ministry is also tracking and keeping a close watch on morbidity and mortality due to the H3N2 subtype of the seasonal influenza. Young children and old age persons with co-morbidities are the most vulnerable groups in the context of seasonal influenza. So far, Karnataka and Haryana have confirmed one death each from H3N2 influenza, it stated.
India has reported two deaths due to the H3N2 subtype of seasonal influenza. As per reports, the first H3N2 death was reported from Hassan district in Karnataka after an 87-year-old man died on March 1 while the second death was reported from Jind district in Haryana. A 56-year-old lung cancer patient from Jind, who tested H3N2 positive in January, died last week, according to official reports.
The Health Ministry said in a statement that cases arising from seasonal influenza are expected to decline from March end.
"Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses which circulate in all parts of the world, and the cases are seen to increase during certain months globally. India every year witnesses two peaks of seasonal influenza: one from January to March and other in the post monsoon season," the Ministry said.
According to the latest data available on IDSP-IHIP (integrated health Information Platform), a total of 3,038 laboratory confirmed cases of various subtypes of Influenza, including H3N2 have been reported till March 9, 2023 by the affected states. This includes 1,245 cases in January; 1,307 in February and 486 cases in March (till March9).
Further, the IDSP-IHIP data from health facilities indicate that in 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 in February 2023. In the first nine days of March 2023, this number stood at 133,412 cases.
Admitted cases of severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) were 7,041 cases in January 2023, 6,919 in February and 1,866 in the first nine days of March, the Ministry added.
Common symptoms of H3N2 influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, chills, diarrhoea and nausea.