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H3N2 cases rising in India: 1 woman dies in Gujarat, Pune and Delhi witness jump in kids, elderly ICU admissions

With rise in ICU admissions of elderly and kids patients due to H3N2 influenza infection in hospitals across the country, doctors have advised extreme Covid-like precautions and masking up to prevent the spread of virus. In the past few days, India has witnessed a rise of H3N2 cases. Several ICU cases of kids, under the age of 5, have been reported in Pune. Similarly, Delhi is also witnessing a spurt in ICU cases of elderly patients.

A 58-year-old woman died in Vadodara, Gujarat today after contracting the H3N2 influenza virus. With this, India‚Äôs death toll due to the H3N2 virus climbed to seven. An 87-year-old man from Karnataka’s Hassan district was the first patients to succumb to H3N2 infections on March 1. The patient had comorbidities, including hypertension, asthma and acute kidney injury. His laboratory test results confirmed H3N2 on March 3, two days after he died.

In Pune, doctors have expressed concerns over a sudden rise in the number of children, especially those aged below 5, landing in the intensive care units (ICUs) of hospitals with acute H3N2 infection. Most of these patients were not responding to medication, especially the antibiotics.

“Our ICUs have been running full since the past 4-6 weeks. We are seeing a rise in infants and preschool children being affected the most. Some of them are reporting liver issues and even blood pressure anomalies. They need ventilator support, invasive or non-invasive, and a majority of them are under five years of age. The common complaints are breathlessness, cough and fever. Pneumonia-like symptoms are also lasting days. In addition to H3N2, we are seeing ICU admissions due to adenovirus, ToI quoted in charge of the paediatric ICU of a private hospital in Pune.

The common symptoms among children infected with H3N2 are high-grade fever, cough, breathing problems and pneumonia. The recovery period for such kids is about 7-8 days. In some malnourished or immunocompromised kids cases, it may take almost 10 days for the fever to subside, the health experts said.

In Delhi, hospitals are witnessing an increased number of ICU admissions with H3N2 viral pneumonia, mostly with severe comorbidities and older than 75 years of age.

Doctors said prevention against H3N2 involved similar measures as the ones during Covid. Doctors advise wearing mask and other Covid-like precautions like washing hands, avoiding crowded places or working in the office or school/colleges to stop the spread of virus.

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