India has recorded its first two deaths of patients down with influenza caused by the H3N2 virus also known as Hong Kong flu , the Union Health Ministry confirmed today.
While one person died in Karnataka, the second death occurred in Haryana.
An 82-year-old man in Karnataka’s Hassan is believed to be the first to die of H3N2 virus in the country. Hire Gowda was admitted to hospital on February 24 and died on March 1. He was reported to be a diabetic and suffered from hypertension as well.
Flu cases have been rising in the country in recent months and around 90 cases of the H3N2 virus have been reported in the country. This virus leads to more hospitalisations than other influenza subtypes in the country. Eight cases of the H1N1 virus have also been detected.
Both H3N2 and H1N1 infections have symptoms similar to the devastating Covid-19 infection which gives rise to a bigger scare.
The symptoms include persistent cough, fever, chills, breathlessness and wheezing. Patients have also reported nausea, sore throat, body-ache and diarrhoea. These symptoms can persist for about a week or so.
According to experts, the virus is highly contagious and spreads through coughing, sneezing and close contact with an infected person.
Doctors have advised the same precautions as followed against Covid such as wearing masks, avoiding crowds and regular washing of hands.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has advised people to cover their mouth and nose while sneezing and coughing, consume plenty of fluids, avoid touching their eyes and nose. Paracetamol tablets have been prescribed in cases of fever and body ache.
The Indian Medical Association had recently advised doctors not to prescribe antibiotics to flu patients. Apart from not being effective in curing viral cases, antibiotics resistance can develop in the patient which would be counterproductive.