What's mysterious disease', India is closely watching
The Union Health Ministry is keeping a careful eye on the recent H9N2 outbreak and clusters of respiratory illness among children in northern China. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a press release in response to media reports expressing worry about the clustering of respiratory ailment cases in the region.
According to a Health Ministry release, the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM) has “enhanced capacities of health systems at all levels, from primary to tertiary care, ensuring an effective response to current and future pandemics or disasters.
“Though Chinese officials attribute this to increased lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and circulation of known pathogens like influenza, Mycoplasma pneumonia, RSV virus, and SARS CoV-2, it is important for us to note this with caution and follow definite precautions to prevent respiratory droplet infection,” says Dr Hari Kishan Gonuguntla, Senior Interventional Pulmonologist, Yashoda Hospitals.
As we approach the winter season, the spread of respiratory illnesses among paediatric age groups may accelerate due to their close proximity. “The WHO advises everyone to use respiratory precautions until more epidemiological and clinical data is available. If patients have respiratory illnesses, they should be examined for viral infections, which helps to identify patterns in India,” says Dr Hari Kishan.
1 Influenza vaccination for people who have not yet received.
2 Adult Pneumococcal vaccination
3 Maintain safe distance
4 The use of N95 masks for high-risk exposure groups
5 Stay at home while sick
6 Maintain adequate ventilation.
7 Hand washing on a regular basis
The full lifting of COVID 19 restrictions could be one of the causes of this new illness. Pathogens such as influenza, mycoplasma pneumonia, and RSV viruses have a seasonal spike. “It’s time to be vigilant and cautious about the new pneumonia clusters discovered in northern China,” warns Dr Hari Kishan.
Given that there hasn’t yet been any impact here, experts advise India to wait and watch. “We should be very vigilant for any new unexplained respiratory symptoms,” says Dr Kishan Srikanth Juvva, MD, DM (Pulmonary and Critical care), Consultant Interventional Pulmonology, and Sleep Medicine, Star Hospitals.
For the last few months, we have seen a large number of pneumonia patients, both paediatric and adult, with the majority of them having either influenza A or H1N1 or both. The vast majority of these patients are recuperating without much complications, with only a handful requiring non-invasive ventilation, high-flow nasal oxygen, and mechanical ventilation. This is the moment to return to hand hygiene and masking. If you haven’t already, it’s time to get your influenza immunisation. — Dr V. V. Ramana Prasad, Sr. Consultant Pulmonologist, KIMS Hospitals
Though Chinese officials attribute this to increased lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and circulation of known pathogens like influenza, Mycoplasma pneumonia, RSV virus, and SARS CoV-2, it is important to note this with caution and follow precautions to prevent respiratory droplet infection.” — Dr Hari Kishan Gonuguntla, Senior Interventional Pulmonologist, Yashoda Hospitals