The first case of H3N2 influenza virus from Assam has been confirmed on Wednesday.
However, the Health Department official of Assam also said that Department is keeping a close watch on the evolving Seasonal Influenza situation across the state through the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) network on real-time basis.
“District surveillance officers under IDSP Network are fully geared to meet this public health challenge in every district of Assam in line with the guidelines formulated by of the Government of India and ICMR,” it added.
Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory tract infection caused by 4 distinct Types- Influenza A, B, C and D belonging to the Orthomyxoviridae family.
Among these types, Influenza A is the most common pathogen for humans.
Globally, influenza cases are typically seen to increase during certain months of the year. India usually witnesses two peaks of seasonal influenza: one from January to March and another one in post monsoon season.
According to the Union Health Ministry, the cases arising from seasonal influenza are expected to decline from March end.
In most of the cases, the disease is self-limiting with symptoms of cough and cold, body ache and fever etc. and usually resolves within a week or so.
However, potentially high risk groups such as infants, young children, pregnant women, elderly above the age of 65 years and people with comorbidities might experience more symptomatic illness requiring hospitalization also.
Disease transmission is mostly air borne from person-to-person, through large droplets generated by the act of coughing and sneezing. Other modes of transmission, include indirect contact by touching a contaminated object or surface (fomite transmission), and close contact including handshaking.
The Union Health Ministry has prescribed Oseltamivir as the drug recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for curing the infection.
“The drug is made available through the Public Health System free of cost. The government has allowed the sale of Oseltamivir under Schedule H1 of the Drug and Cosmetic Act in February 2017 for wider accessibility and availability,” it said.