Noida: The Uttar Pradesh health department, as part of their measures to prevent the spread of influenza cases amidst a rise in the H3N2 virus, have started collecting samples from cold patients for influenza testing.

The state health department issued an advisory to all district magistrates on March 15 directing them to take preventive steps in controlling influenza.

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The additional secretary Amandeep Kaur, in a letter, had directed the district magistrates to do intensive monitoring of the Influenza-like illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) in order to prevent the influenza outbreak.

The advisory pointed out the mandatory need for every patient to be registered on the Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) portal and suggested the importance of personal hygiene. The advisory directed the hospitals to set up isolation wards for seasonal influenza patients and shift the patients to ICU and ventilators when required.

In Noida, the health officials at Child PGI, GIMS, and the Sector 30 district hospital are collecting the samples. Similarly, in Ghaziabad, health officials at MMG hospital and the Sanjay Nagar District Combined Hospital are collecting the samples.

Dr Amit Kumar, district surveillance officer in Noida told TOI, "We will send the samples collected to Meerut Medical College and KGMU (King George's Medical University), Lucknow to see which influenza virus has been infecting people. Since the influenza virus is present in the area, prevention entails the Covid protocols like wearing a mask, avoiding physical contact and consuming liquids in case of symptoms. Doctors' consultation is also a must."

Around 50-80 cases of people with symptoms of fever, cough and cold used to visit government OPD which has risen to 200 per day now. Doctors pointed out that the influenza virus adds to the infection which is already complicated by weather changes. People coming to the OPDs are reported to have symptoms like cough, cold and fever, or severe breathing trouble.

Dr Pankaj Chaudhary, senior consultant at the internal medicine department of Max Hospital in Vaishali said, "The virus generally takes 3-5 days to show symptoms, and people must take preventive care by wearing face masks, social distancing, and avoiding antibiotics for mild fever, cough and cold."

Dr Rajpal Singh, a physician at MMG hospital said, "We are conducting testing of symptomatic patients and advising people to consume liquid to remain hydrated. Wearing a mask and avoiding close contact at crowded places will reduce the chances of infection and re-infection." They pointed out that elderly people and persons with breathing problems are more likely to get affected.

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