India closely monitoring flu outbreak with 2 deaths, thousands of cases

New Delhi, Mar 10 (EFE).- The Indian Ministry of Health said on Friday it was closely monitoring an outbreak of influenza in several regions of the country, with thousands of confirmed cases and two deaths from the predominant variant H3N2.

“The Ministry is also tracking and keeping a close watch on morbidity and mortality due to the H3N2 subtype of the seasonal Influenza,” said the ministry statement, adding that the southern state of Karnataka and northern Haryana have each reported one death from this variant.

According to data collected by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), 27 percent of patients have been found to have breathing difficulties and six percent seizures, while seven percent have been required to be admitted to intensive care units.

“It can be seen that Influenza H3N2 is the predominant sub-type among the samples testing positive for influenza, since the beginning of this year,” said the ministry, which has also detected 955 cases of the H1N1 sub-type this year.

So far this year, the south Asian country has confirmed 3,038 cases of different subtypes of influenza, including H3N2, considered more virulent and resulting in a higher number of hospitalizations.

The vast majority of people hospitalized for the variant experienced fever, while the number of influenza-like cases recorded in the country amounted to 436,523 in February alone, an increase of almost 10 percent compared to the previous month.

Nearly 7,000 people were hospitalized for severe acute respiratory infections in February.

The authorities expect the number of seasonal influenza cases to decline from the end of March, although the Ministry of Health has recommended that the affected states vaccinate health workers treating H1N1 cases.

The authorities underlined they have sufficient amounts of the antiviral Oseltamivir, recommended by the World Health Organization for treating these influenza infections. EFE


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