Influenza A subtype causing cough, fever in India: ICMR experts
A persistent cold and cough running through the country are due to Influenza A subtype H3N2, as per experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The H3N2 has been circulating for the past few months, causing more hospitalizations than any other subtype, according to ICMR scientists, who are closely watching ailments caused primarily by respiratory viruses.
Why does this story matter?
- Over the past two or three months, several parts of India have been reporting a significant amount of Influenza cases with a lingering cough and prolonged illness.
- After battling the coronavirus pandemic for two years, which is still ongoing, this recent spike in Influenza cases has once again triggered a fresh scare among the general population.
Know about H3N2 symptoms
The usual symptoms include a persistent cough accompanied by fever. In many recent cases, a lot of people are complaining of prolonged symptoms as well. ICMR has also released a "Dos and Don'ts" list for people to protect themselves from contracting the virus. It recommended practicing good hand and respiratory hygiene. The infection usually lasts a week, but the cough can last longer.
IMA advises against indiscriminate antibiotics use
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has instructed against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics amid the recent spike in cough, cold, and nausea cases across the nation. The IMA's Standing Committee for Anti-Microbial Resistance stated that the fever usually goes away at the end of the third day; however, the cough might persist for nearly three weeks, reported the news agency PTI.
Details on IMA's statement against using antibiotics
"Right now, people start taking antibiotics like Azithromycin and Amoxiclav etc, that too without caring for done and frequency and stop it once start feeling better," the IMA said in a release this week. "This needs to be stopped as it leads to antibiotic resistance. Whenever there will be a real use of antibiotics, they will not work due to the resistance," it added.
Here's list of most misused antibiotics
According to reports, the most misused antibiotics are Norfloxacin, Amoxicillin, Oprofloxacin, Levofloxacin, and Ofloxacin. The IMA stated, "We have already seen widespread use of Azithromycin and Ivermectin during COVID-19 and this too has led to resistance. It is necessary to diagnose whether the infection is bacterial or not before prescribing antibiotics."
New Influenza strain not life-threatening: Clinical trial specialist
Meanwhile, clinical trial specialist Dr. Anita Ramesh, during an interview with NDTV, said that the new Influenza strain is not life-threatening. "It is not life-threatening. But some of my patients had to get admitted due to respiratory problems," said Dr. Ramesh. "Some of the symptoms are similar to COVID, but all my patients have tested COVID negative," the specialist added.
India battling spike in COVID-19 and Influenza cases
It is worth noting that this spike in Influenza cases comes at a time when India reported more than 300 COVID-19 cases for the first time in 97 days. The Union Health Ministry on Saturday morning said that the country reported 334 new cases, while the active cases went up to 2,686. Meanwhile, the death toll climbed up to 5,30,775.
220.63 crore coronavirus vaccine doses administered in India
According to the ministry's data, 220.63 crore coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered under the Centre's nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive. Additionally, the total number of people who recuperated from the highly contagious virus increased to 4,41,54,035, while the fatality rate remained at 1.19%.