India has recently reported the first two deaths due to the H3N2 influenza virus, causing concern across the country. With over 90 cases of the flu-like virus being reported, it is important to understand what the virus is, its symptoms, and how to prevent and treat it.
What is the H3N2 virus?
H3N2v is a non-human influenza virus that typically circulates in pigs but can infect humans. When these viruses infect humans, they are called “variant” viruses. The specific H3N2 variant virus was first detected in 2011 in humans and has genes from avian, swine, and human viruses, as well as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus M gene.
Symptoms of H3N2 virus
Symptoms of H3N2 virus include fever, sore throat, cough, body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea. These symptoms usually last for about a week, but some people may experience them for a longer period of time.
Treatment and prevention
Currently, recommended drugs for H3N2 virus treatment are available by prescription from a doctor. People with the H3N2 virus are advised to take medications as per the prescription. Prevention measures include annual flu vaccinations, and regular hand washing, especially before consuming food or touching your face, nose, or mouth. People should also avoid crowded areas and restrict interactions with people who are ill. In case of flu, people are advised to stay at home for 24 hours after the fever has subsided.
Who is at higher risk?
Children under five years of age, people who are 65 years and older, pregnant people, and people with certain long-term health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions are at higher risk of developing complications if they get infected with the virus.
The H3N2 influenza virus is a cause of concern in India, with the first two deaths being reported. Understanding the symptoms, treatment, and prevention measures can help prevent the spread of the virus and protect those at higher risk of developing complications. Annual flu vaccinations, regular hand washing, and avoiding crowded areas are crucial in preventing the spread of the virus.