Health ministry asks states to closely monitor influenza situation


The Union health ministry has asked the states to closely monitor the proportion of Influenza Like Illnesses and Severe Acute Respiratory Illnesses (ILIs/SARIs) in view of rising number of influenza cases in the country.

Two people have so far died in the country due to influenza H3N2.

According to the ministry under Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), as reported by States/UTs, an increasing trend of ILI/SARI is being observed across the country.

A review meeting was held recently under member (Health), NITI Aayog and health secretary to review the current situation with all concerned Central Ministries/ Departments/ Organizations.

In a letter written to states the health secretary to refer sufficient number of samples for testing for Influenza, SARS-Cov-2 and Adenovirus.

“Since 1st January, 2023, as per testing of respiratory samplesbeing undertaken by variousICMR’s VRDL network labs, almost 25.4% of the samples have tested positive for Adenoviruses,”
it said.

The health secretary has asked the states to take a stock of hospital preparedness including drugs, medical equipment, medical oxygen, etc., capacity building of human resource on existing guidelines as well as vaccination coverage against Covid-19 and Influenza.
In order to limit transmission of these diseases the states have been asked to raise community awareness regarding adherence to respiratory and hand hygiene (like covering one’s mouth and nose with a tissue/elbow when coughing or sneezing, avoiding spitting in public places, preferably use of mask in crowded places, frequent hand wash etc.), promoting early reporting of symptoms, and limiting contact of those people who are suffering from respiratory illness.

“Further, as per integrated-sentinel based surveillanceof ILI &SARI, an upswing of Influenza Ais observed since latter half of December, 2022. Of particular concern is preponderance of Influenza A (H3N2) being detected in the samples being analysed in various labs,” the letter said.

According to the ministry young children, old age people and people suffering from co-morbidites, pregnant women are at risk and vulnerable to H1N1, H3N2, Adenoviruses, etc.

“These people may suffer from a more severe manifestation of these diseases requiring hospitalisation,” it said.

The ministry has also noticed a gradual rise in Covid-19 test positivity rates in some States which it added is a concerning issue that needs to be promptly addressed.

“Despite low number of new cases, equally low number of hospitalisations and significant advances made ni terms of Covid-19 vaccination coverage, there is still a need to remain vigilant and focus on fivefold strategy of test-track-treat- vaccination and adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour”.

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