H3N2 strain overtakes swine flu virus: DAK
Srinagar: Advising people to go for the vaccine which is the best way to protect against the virus and its serious complications, the Doctor Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday said in recent weeks more than half of the reported flu cases are due to H3N2 infection which is more dangerous.
“So far this flu season, Swine flu (H1N1) virus has been dominant, but a more aggressive H3N2 strain has overtaken it, said DAK Dr Nisar ul-Hassan said in a statement here this afternoon. “Now, H3N2 is more frequently reported than H1N1,” he said.
“According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in recent weeks more than half of the reported flu cases are due to H3N2 infection,” he said, adding the virus is emerging as a predominant strain and is causing a secondary wave of flu.
“History has shown that flu seasons that were dominated by H3N2 were more severe – causing more hospitalizations and deaths than seasons dominated by H1N1 or B virus,” he said, adding that “H3N2 can be particularly deadly for older adults and very young children.”
“With the shift to a dangerous strain, we could have a bad second half of this flu season which has just begun,” Dr Nisar said. “The symptoms of H3N2 flu include cough, runny nose, sore throat, high-grade fever and body ache,” he said. “Vaccine is the best way to protect against the virus and its serious complications.
This year’s flu vaccine has been updated and is effective against the currently circulating H3N2. Those who have not yet been vaccinated should get it now and vaccination should continue as long as the flu is circulating,” he advised.
“If you get the virus, you should start early antiviral medication that will prevent serious complications and death. Use of antibiotics for flu is not only inappropriate but also puts patients at risk of antibiotic-resistant infections,” cautioned Dr Nisar.