According to the Union Health Ministry, the cases arising from seasonal influenza are expected to decline from March end
In the wake of rising cases of other Influenza-like Illnesses and Severe Acute Respiratory Illnesses (ILIs/SARIs) in the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Saturday asked the states and Union Territories to raise community awareness about adherence to respiratory and hand hygiene.
To contain the transmission of these diseases, Rajesh Bhushan said it is also important to promote early reporting of symptoms, and limiting the contact of those people who are suffering from respiratory illness.
In a letter to chief secretaries/principal secretaries/secretaries (health) of the states/UTs, the Union health secretary said, “In the current season, a variety of weather conditions and behavioural reasons (like less than adequate attention to personal hygiene, sneezing and coughing without proper protection in close proximity of other people, closed indoor gatherings of people, etc) make the environment conducive to the circulation of a number of viral respiratory pathogens like Influenza A (H1N1, H3N2 etc.), Adenoviruses, etc.”
He stressed on the need for special care to be taken in the case of young children, old age people and people suffering from co-morbidities who are particularly at risk and vulnerable to H1N1, H3N2, Adenoviruses, etc.
Bhushan said that the gradual rise in COVID-19 test positivity rates in some states is a matter of concern that needs to be promptly addressed.
“Despite the low number of new cases, equally low number of hospitalisations and significant advances made in terms of COVID-19 vaccination coverage, there is still a need to remain vigilant and focus on the five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour,” Bhushan said.
He instructed the state/district Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) units to monitor the proportion of SARI cases among all ILI& SARI cases in their respective areas, and refer the sufficient number of samples for testing for Influenza, SARS-COV-2 and Adenovirus.
“It would also be useful to take a stock of hospital preparedness including drugs, medical equipment, medical oxygen, etc, capacity building of human resources on existing guidelines as well as vaccination coverage against COVID-19 and Influenza,” he added.
Finally, Bhushan added that the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare will continue to closely follow the evolving situation and will provide all required assistance if needed.