“It is undeniably the dominant virus type this season,” said Dr Varsha Potdar, head of the influenza group at National Institute of Virology, Pune. NIV is part of the 32-lab network in the country studying influenza viruses.
Maha July flu positivity rate 19%, up from May 6%
Data collated from labs and hospitals in Maharashtra shows H3N2 to be the common type among most hospitalised patients. As on Saturday, nearly 100 patients were admitted with flu in government hospitals in the state.While reported deaths haven’t been exceptionally high – six so far – cases are on the rise, said doctors.
The positivity rate for flu in Maharashtra touched 19% in July, up from 6% in April and May respectively.
As per the public health department, there have been 1,540 lab-confirmed cases of influenza since January, of which nearly 900 were H3N2.
Dr Potdar said the higher prevalence of H3N2 could be linked to the population’s immunity profile. She pointed out that a significant proportion of individuals have already been exposed to Covid-19 and are vaccinated against it, while H1N1 was circulating last year. Influenza viruses can be distinguished in types A (H1N1, H3N2), B (sublineages Yamagata, Victoria), C, and D. While both Influenza A and B are responsible for outbreaks and seasonal epidemics, influenza A viruses are the only ones with pandemic potential. Potdar added that both H1N1 and H3N2 can cause mild to severe diseases. “Therefore, maintaining continuous surveillance and ensuring widespread vaccination is crucial,” she said.