Spike in H3N2 cases in Delhi hospitals: Doctors

- March 14, 2023
| By : Patriot Bureau |

According to Dr. Rajiva Gupta, Senior Consultant in Internal Medicine at the CK Birla Hospital in Delhi and Gurugram, the number of ILI (influenza-like illness) cases has increased recently.

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Doctors said on Tuesday that hospitals in Delhi are witnessing a spike in cases of H3N2 virus that cause complications such as fever, body aches, cold, and in certain cases, leads to persistent coughs.

They shared that the number of patients coming to OPDs has risen up to 150 per cent.

Dr. Viny Kantroo, Consultant, Respiratory, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, elaborated on the probable causes of the increase and said the outbreak could have been brought on by seasonal change, virus mutation, and the economy being fully open.

“Children are going to school and they are transmitting it to the elderly. A lot of cross-country travel is happening. In the last two years, Covid was the dominant virus and there were restrictions but with relaxation of norms and return of normalcy, these outbreaks are being observed,” she told news agency PTI.

The LNJP Hospital of the Delhi Government has created an isolation unit with 20 beds in the emergency block for these patients.

They have done this and stocked up on medications in accordance with the recommendations of the ICMR. According to a top physician, a 15-person team has been constituted to oversee the patients’ care.

According to Dr. Rajiva Gupta, Senior Consultant in Internal Medicine at the CK Birla Hospital in Delhi and Gurugram, the number of ILI (influenza-like illness) cases has increased recently.

“For instance, if we were seeing two to three patients in OPDs last month, this month there would be a one-and-a-half times rise. The symptoms are fever, discomfort, cold, and body aches. In some cases, patients also experience abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea, and even fullness in ears,” he added.

As per the senior doctor, the treatment approach changes lightly when the patient has comorbidities. He also stressed that in such cases, patients ask the family members to monitor the BP, pulse, oxygen saturation levels and consciousness levels.

He said that the patient will need hospitalisation if the symptoms fluctuate.

Dr Vikas Deswal, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Medanta, Gurugram said the influenza virus is the most prevalent virus that affects our respiratory system. The virus is present in three different categories: A, B, and C.

“Among these, subtype A is the most commonly found. One subtype of the influenza A virus is H3N2, which produces symptoms similar to other flu viruses such as cough, fever, cold, sore throat, fatigue, muscle pain, and respiratory complications, especially in children under two years old, the elderly, and those with other medical conditions,” he said.

It has also been observed by the doctors that persistent cough continues even after the fever subsides in some cases.

“One of my patients said he had a persistent cough and could not attend meetings because of it. Patients also develop extreme weakness due to it,” explained Gupta.

Deswal emphasised on the importance of taking precautions because virus mutate over time.

“Antibiotics are not effective in treating viral infections such as H3N2 and can be harmful, so people should avoid taking them, especially if they have H3N2.

“The virus spreads through droplets and direct contact, so it is recommended to follow precautions such as avoid touching surfaces, wash hands, follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, practice social distancing, wear masks, and avoid going out if experiencing viral symptoms.

Additionally, it is important for people to get vaccinated against influenza every year,” he said.