AHMEDABAD: While Covid is not directly responsible for the prolonged flu cases – caused by H3N2 variant of Influenza A virus – experts said that the negligible cases of flu in past three years reduced immunity and caused the surge.
Dr Randeep Guleria, former director of AIIMS Delhi and chairman of Gurugram-based Medanta Hospital, said that the surge is seen in the respiratory viral infection since December last year.
“It’s not something new, and we have seen the spike in cases during winter and monsoon months based on ICMR data. I see one or two reasons for the phenomenon – we were following Covid-appropriate behaviour till recently including wearing masks and frequent hand wash, which is not followed now. We are thus exposed to the respiratory viruses,” he said.
“Another reason is lack of exposure – in Covid years, it remained the dominant virus with few flu cases. Thus, immunity against flu went down and vulnerability for the same went up.”
Dr Guleria was speaking at the KD National Pulmonology & Critical Care Conference organized in the city by KD Hospital where about 700 doctors, medical professionals and students participated.
Dr Raja Dhar, director of pulmonology at CMRI, Kolkata, said that the surge should be seen in the light of increased movement of people along with weather impact. “There are several other infections seen including adenovirus, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, etc. which can also cause hospitalization and ventilation. The surge will continue for few months with varied intensity across different states,” he said, adding that we may see better protection against flu next season.
Dr Adit Desai, MD of KD Hospital, said that the occasion also saw release of expert consensus statement for both medical professionals and public at large as ready reckoner.
“We have been seeing patients in OPDs who are complaining of frequent viral infections after recovering from Covid. There are also long-term implications of Covid which we discussed during the conference,” said Dr HS Dumra, a critical care specialist with KD Hospital. “It could be the impact of lower immunity that even relatively milder flu can impact lungs which are already damaged due to Covid.”

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