Two persons have died of influenza caused by the H3N2 virus, the Union Health Ministry on Friday confirmed. One person has died in Haryana and the other in Karnataka.
An 82-year-old man in Karnataka's Hassan is believed to be the first to die of H3N2 in the country. Hire Gowda was admitted to hospital on February 24 and died on March 1, according to officials. He was reportedly diabetic and suffered from hypertension.
Around 90 cases of the H3N2 virus have been reported in the country. Eight cases of the H1N1 virus have also been detected.
Cases of flu have been rising in the country over the past few months. Most of the infections are caused by the H3N2 virus, also known as the "Hong Kong flu". This virus causes more hospitalisations than other influenza subtypes in the country.
Only H3N2 and H1N1 infections have been detected in India so far.
Both have symptoms similar to Covid, which infected millions across the world and caused 6.8 million deaths.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms include persistent cough, fever, chills, breathlessness and wheezing. Patients have also reported nausea, sore throat, body-ache and diarrhoea. These symptoms can persist for about a week.
According to experts, the virus is highly contagious and spreads through coughing, sneezing and close contact with an infected person.
Doctors have advised Covid-like precautions, including regular washing of hands and masks. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) urges covering one's mouth and nose while sneezing and coughing, plenty of fluids, avoiding touching the eyes and the nose, and paracetamol for fever and body ache.
The infection may be severe for high-risk groups like older adults and younger children, besides people with weakened immune system because of chronic medical problems.
The Indian Medical Association recently urged doctors not to prescribe antibiotics to patients before confirming whether the infection is bacterial, as they can develop a resistance.