Representational image (Tharun A/BCCL, Hyderabad)

Representational image

(Tharun A/BCCL, Hyderabad)

Wednesday, August 30: While the new COVID variant ‘Pirola’ or BA.2.86, that has recently come under the lens after being detected in multiple countries, has yet to reach home, another respiratory virus has been making its presence felt in the Indian city of Hyderabad.

India deals with its fair share of respiratory viruses, especially during the monsoons. So, you might be wondering why this one is worth mentioning. Experts haven’t really been able to identify this virus, and it seems to be dodging all standard tests!

Government hospitals across the Telangana capital have seen an uptick in outpatients with influenza-like symptoms. In fact, the footfall has increased from 250-300 to 600 at a state-run Fever Hospital within a fortnight, the Times of India reported.

Dr M Raja Rao, superintendent of Gandhi Hospital, told the news agency that they had been witnessing cases of acute respiratory illnesses for the last two to three months. And while influenza-like illnesses showing symptoms like breathing difficulty and low oxygen saturation typically tested positive either for swine flu or COVID-19, this particular virus showed negative results for both.

But the good news is that there seems to be a drop in influenza-like illnesses (ILI) compared to the previous years.

Despite there being some snags in the diagnosis of this virus, experts ascertain that there is no cause for alarm just yet.

According to Dr P Shankar, director of the Institute of Preventive Medicine, the recovery rate in all these cases has been 100% until now, as well. Further, the recovery period doesn’t typically exceed five days, provided symptomatic treatment is given to the patients. However, individuals with comorbidities must exercise caution as severe disease might require hospitalisation.

As for whether this virus is going to cause any more trouble, experts think that the ongoing temperature fluctuations caused by the changing weather will create negative conditions for these viruses to survive.

Meanwhile, swine flu and COVID-19 cases also seem to be under control. This has been attributed to the relatively high vaccination rates and the endemic nature of both diseases.


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