In the wake of increasing cases of H3N2 influenza virus, the country’s leading health experts state that the virus is not as lethal as H1N1. However, the symptoms after infection tend to last longer. Sometimes it can extend for upto a couple of months.
Speaking to The New Indian, Dr. Naval Kishore Vikram, Endocrinologist and Professor, Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi says, “Because it is a virus, the strains keep on changing. Right now it is H3N2 strain, some time back it was H1N1 swine flu which was slightly more lethal. There is antigenic drift and this time it’s H3N2 that is causing most of the illnesses.”
“The spread of the virus is fast, however what is more worrying with this virus is the symptoms are getting more prolonged such as cough, sore throat, breathlessness. It’s staying from a couple of weeks to even a couple of months,” Dr. Vikram says.
The deaths that have occurred so far in H3N2 virus are of patients who are old or have comorbidities.
“This strain is less lethal than swine flu strain. Influenza can become severe with people who have comorbidities, particularly with individuals who have comorbidities that involve lungs. Diabetes, cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or any kind of immunosuppressant too are vulnerable,” the doctor says.
The good news is strict isolation is not required to stop the spread of this virus.
“This virus also speeds through the same route as other strains of Covid. Droplets and the main medium. The infection spreads through the respiratory tract. For the general population it might result in mild illness which can be managed symptomatically. Strict isolation might not be required” said the doctor.
However the doctors warn that complete dependence on antibiotics should be avoided as it may not be beneficial.