‘H3N2 Severity Up Due To Low Virus Exposure In Pandemic’ Says Experts

Doctors in the city on Tuesday attributed the severity of H3N2 infection among patients, especially children, to limited exposure to viruses during the Covid-19 pandemic. The observation followed data from private laboratories in the city, which showed that H3N2 was currently the dominating virus in the city, as seen globally, overtaking SARS-CoV-2 and H1N1.

Dr Manohar Lal Chaudhary, scientist with the National Institute of Virology (NIV), said, “As per the samples got so far, we have not found any new strain of H3N2 virus. Although changes are common in any virus, there is no mutation of concern till now. What is being seen now is a common phenomenon, which children among the most susceptible section. H3N2 is not only dominant in India, but across the globe.”

As per health experts, the currently circulating strain of H3N2 is causing more demand for oxygen and even ICU admissions. Among the influenza A viruses, H3N2 has been on the rise since mid-December last year. This virus subtype is known to cause high-grade fever, persistent cough and pneumonia, the experts said.

Dr Devashish Desai, consultant, infectious diseases, Ruby Hall Clinic, said, “The dominant strain of influenza keeps changing year on year. This season, we have been seeing mostly influenza A/H3N2 as well as some cases of influenza B.

The restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic may have reduced the exposure to other respiratory viruses like influenza, which may be contributing to the higher level of circulation this season.”

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An outbreak of acute necrotizing (ANE) encephalitis has been detected in Kanpur. A GSVM Medical College third-year MBBS student named Pakhi from the city has screened positive for swine flu, but only after an H1N1 infection had been discovered in the third-year medical student at the local GSVM medical college who fell into a coma after contracting acute necrotizing encephalitis.

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