H3N2 – Influenza

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Why in News?

  • Across India, an outbreak of a respiratory illness with symptoms of cold, sore throat and fever accompanied by fatigue has been observed since December 2022 and January 2023.

About the News:

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) confirmed that Influenza Sub-type H3N2 has been causing this illness.
  • It further warned that the virus appeared to lead to more hospitalisations than other Influenza subtypes.

What is H3N2 Virus?

  • H3N2 virus is a type of influenza virus called the influenza A virus. It is a respiratory viral infection that causes illnesses every year. This subtype of influenza A virus was discovered in 1968 in humans.
  • The virus derives from types of protein strains of the influenza A virus – hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA).
  • HA has over 18 different subtypes, each numbered H1 to H18 while NA has 11 different subtypes, each numbered N1 to N11. The H3N2 is a combination of the two protein strains of the influenza A virus.

Symptoms of H3N2 Virus:

  • The symptoms of the H3N2 virus include cough, runny nose or congested nose, sore throat, headaches, body aches, fever, chills, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting and breathlessness.

Treatment for H3N2 Virus:

  • Regular over-the-counter medications for fever, cough or headaches can be consumed to relieve the symptoms.
  • Annual flu shots for the influenza virus should be administered and taken around this time.

Types of Influenza Virus:

  • There are four types of influenza viruses: influenza A, B, C and D
  • Influenza A and B are the two types of influenza that cause epidemic seasonal infections nearly every year.
  • Influenza C mainly occurs in humans, but has been known to also occur in dogs and pigs.
  • Influenza D is found mainly in cattle. It’s not known to infect or cause illness in humans yet.
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