Karnataka govt calls high-level meeting over H3N2 variant

The flu-causing H3N2 variant has been on the rise since December 2022, causing respiratory symptoms that are similar to Covid-19
Last Updated : 05 March 2023, 23:49 IST
Last Updated : 05 March 2023, 23:49 IST

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The state government has called a high-level meeting on Monday to discuss the spread of the H3N2 variant of Influenza A virus and to identify treatment methods for the infection, whose symptoms include persistent cough and fever.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr K Sudhakar said that following the Health Ministry's notification to pay attention to H3N2, the meeting with health department officials and experts would discuss measures to tackle the spread in the state.

The flu-causing H3N2 variant has been on the rise since December 2022, causing respiratory symptoms that are similar to Covid-19.

As per the reports of the National Centre for Disease Control, most of the cases of persistent cough, nausea, sore throat and other flu symptoms that are widespread in the country are because of the H3N2 virus.

Health Commissioner D Randeep said that he had asked the Technical Advisory Committee to issue draft guidelines regarding the H3N2 variant. He added that the draft guidelines might be approved by the government by Monday evening.

"As the H3N2 variant is also in circulation with similar respiratory symptoms to those of Covid, it is important to check for co-infection," said Dr M K Sudarshan, Chairman, Karnataka State Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee.

He added that the 'TAC guidelines for H3N2 in the State' report, which includes precautionary measures and a public advisory, has been submitted to the government after a formal TAC meeting on Sunday evening.

"There is also an irrational and widespread use of antibiotics which won't help in the case of H3N2 infections unless there is a bacterial infection as well," he said, adding that this indiscriminate use may lead to antibiotic resistance.

Covid cases

As per the health department's bulletin on Saturday, 95 Covid cases were reported in the state in the 24-hour period ending Friday midnight. Of these, 79 cases were reported in Bengaluru alone. These are the highest single-day figures in the state and city since January 2023.

There have been three Covid-related deaths in the state since January 2023, one in the Koppal district in January and one each in Haveri and Shivamogga in February.

Twenty-one hospitalisations occurred in the past 24 hours in Bengaluru, which were all incidental findings of people testing positive for Covid after being admitted for other illnesses, said Dr Sudarshan.

Doctors have advised people to avoid crowded places, maintain distance from those that present cold, cough and fever, and wear masks.

Published 05 March 2023, 09:22 IST

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