The Karnataka government’s health department has put its healthcare infrastructure across the state in a state of watchfulness and has advised the general public to be aware of the seasonal flu virus in the wake of reports of a surge in respiratory illnesses among children in China.
The move comes in the backdrop of an alert by the Union ministry of health to the states to check the preparedness if such cases rise in India.
“Taking note of the recent media reports of a surge in respiratory illnesses among children in China and the WHO statement on these reported cases, it is ascertained that this increase in respiratory illness among children is attributed to the usual causes like influenza, mycoplasma pneumonia, SARS-Cov-2 and not due to any other unusual pathogen,” the office of the commissioner of health and family welfare services in Karnataka said Tuesday.
“The Director General of Health Services under the Union minister of health and family welfare, however, has directed to proactively review public health and hospital preparedness and to ensure all prevention and control activities are in place as a matter of caution,” communiques from the health department to all the districts and the general public said.
Among the key instructions to the district health officials is to ensure the compulsory wearing of masks at all healthcare facilities by health workers and for all state hospitals previously involved in Covid-19 care to evaluate the preparedness in terms of beds, oxygen supply, ventilators, PPE kits etc.
“All SARI (severe acute respiratory infection) cases with Covid negative test reports should be subjected to tests at the nearest VRDL (Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory) facility,” says the communique.
“Seasonal flu is an infectious disease that spreads from person to person through the cough or sneeze or through contact with droplets. This self limiting disease lasts for five to seven days and causes low morbidity and mortality,” the statement added.
“At-risk populations include infants, the elderly, pregnant women, immunocompromised and those taking long term medications, particularly steroids, would require hospitalization,” it further said.
“Fever, chills, loss of appetite, myalgia, nausea, sneezing and dry cough lasting several days and sudden onset of malaise are common symptoms of this disease which may last up to three weeks in high risk populations,” the health communique for the public said.
Washing hands often, covering mouth while sneezing, avoiding crowded places and staying home if symptoms of the onset of the flu is evident, is among the advices from the Karnataka state health department to help people stay away from the disease.