Amid report of first H3N2 انفلوئنزا related deaths in India, one each in Karnataka and Haryana, government has issued statement confirming that a close watch is maintained on seasonal influenza, across the country through the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) network on real-time basis.
Authorities are also tracking and keeping a close watch on morbidity and mortality due to the H3N2 subtype of the seasonal Influenza.
Young children and old age persons with co-morbidities are the most vulnerable groups in context of seasonal influenza.
A total of 3038 laboratory confirmed cases of various subtypes of Influenza including H3N2 have been reported till 9th March 2023 by the States. This includes 1245 cases in January, 1307 in February and 486 cases in March (till 9th March).
Further, during the month of January 2023, a total of 397,814 cases of Acute Respiratory Illness/Influenza Like Illness (ARI/ILI) were reported from the country that increased slightly to 436,523 during February, 2023. In the first 9 days of March 2023, this number stands at 133,412 cases. The corresponding data for admitted cases of severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) is 7041 cases in January 2023, 6919 during February 2023 and 1866 during the first 9 days of March 2023.
In 2023 (till 28th February), a total of 955 H1N1 cases have been reported. Majority of the H1N1 cases are reported from Tamil Nadu (545), Maharashtra (170), Gujarat (74), Kerala (42) and Punjab (28).
Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses which circulate in all parts of the world, and the cases are seen to increase during certain months globally. India every year witnesses two peaks of seasonal influenza: one from Jan to March and other in post monsoon season. The cases arising from seasonal influenza are expected to decline from March end.
Oseltamivir is the drug recommended by WHO. The drug is made available through the Public Health System free of cost. Government has allowed sale of Oseltamivir under Schedule H1 of Drug and Cosmetic Act in February 2017 for wider accessibility and availability.