Maharashtra on Wednesday reported two deaths due to the H3N2 influenza virus. H3N2 is a sub-type of the influenza A virus. Some of the common symptoms of the H3N2 virus include persistent coughing, fever, throat ache, body ache, nausea and vomiting.

One of the two patients, 72-year-old AK Mazi, was a resident of Nagpur. He had been hospitalised on March 2 after facing breathing difficulties and died on March 9. Mazi was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The second person was identified as Chandrakant Sapkal, a 23-year-old first-year medical student in Ahmednagar. He had tested positive on March 11 and died the next day.

“He tested positive for Covid-19 as well as H1N1 and H3N2 viruses,” Health Minister Tanaji Sawant told the Maharashtra Assembly, according to PTI.

H1N2 is also a sub-type of the influenza A virus.

Last week, two persons in Karnataka and Haryana had died due to the H3N2 influenza virus.

On Wednesday, Sawant said that 361 cases of influenza infections have been detected in Maharashtra so far. He added that guidelines regarding the disease will be issued within the next two days.

“Influenza has been detected in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Thane, Sangli and Kolhapur,” he said. “There are 303 cases of H1N2 and 58 cases of H3N2.”

The health minister also advised the public to use masks in crowded places and follow social distancing norms.

“If anyone shows symptoms like severe cough, high fever, sore throat then they are requested to visit the nearby hospitals without any delay,” he said, according to The Indian Express. “If treated on time, the recovery rate gets faster.”

He also added that preliminary reports suggest that the H3N2 influenza virus does not lead to death.

Earlier, Doctor Subramanian Swaminathan, the director of infectious diseases at Gleneagles Global Hospital in Chennai, had told The Hindu that H3N2 has not been in circulation for a very long time. “It is newish and therefore people do not have any pre-existing immunity to it and therefore we are seeing an excess number of patients falling ill,” he had explained.

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