A 23-year-old MBBS student in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar passed away after testing positive for the H3N2 influenza virus on the night of Monday, 13 March.
The influenza virus also claimed the life of a 78-year-old man in Nagpur who was being treated at a private hospital.
The total number of deaths due to H3N2 in the country has now reached nine, according to media reports. The Health Ministry, however, is yet to release the official death toll.
Here are nine things you should know about the H3N2 virus situation in India.
Number of cases in Maharashtra up to 352 now: Maharashtra Health Minister Tanaji Sawant was quoted by news agency ANI as saying, “Their treatment is going on and hospitals have been asked to be on alert. H3N2 is not fatal, and can be cured by medical treatment. No need to panic.”
A 58-year-old woman in Gujarat’s Vadodara passed away after flu-like symptoms on Monday. The authorities are testing her blood samples to see if H3N2 was the cause of her death.
First suspected death in Maharashtra: Since the MBBS student had tested positive for both COVID-19 and H3N2, it still isn’t clear what the exact cause of his death was. While post-mortem reports trickle in, his is the first suspected death due to the virus in the state.
Puducherry shuts down schools for 10 days: After 79 cases of the influenza virus were reported in the union territory, Puducherry Education Minister A Namassivayam shut down all schools for students of classes 1-8 from 16-26 March, reported ANI.
First death in India: The first death due to H3N2 in India was reported on 1 March when an 82-year-old man in Karnataka, Hire Gowda, who had co-morbidities such as diabetes and hypertension, passed away in a state-run hospital.
Surge in H1N1 virus as well: India is also witnessing a surge in H1N1 or swine flu cases with 955 cases reported till 28 February, according to data from the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.
Symptoms of the flu:
Cough and sore throat
Do this to protect yourself:
Wash your hands frequently
Wear masks in public
Touching your face
Self-medicating (Antibiotics won’t work since H3N2 is caused by a virus)