Hyderabad: Flu cases are on a rise. But, apart from swine flu or H1N1, other strains are difficult to recognize as they are not being tested. With clinics and hospitals reporting flu cases in increasing numbers, experts say this is because these people might not be wearing masks properly and not doing the regular hand-wash.
Influenza viruses are transmitted from poultry to humans and different strains are being noticed from time to time. Two subtypes, H1N1 and H3N2, are prevalent in the city.
Dr Aarathi Bellary, head of department of Internal Medicine, SLG Hospitals, says, "People are reporting symptoms of fever, cough, breathing difficulty etc. New strains are constantly emerging as there are 18 H-sub-types and 11 N-sub-types of the influenza virus."
With RTPCR tests and throat swabs being done to detect Covid19 and swine flu, medical experts say there is a need to develop more testing models for different influenza viruses.
Dr Shivaraju, head of internal medicine, KIMS, says, "Flu cases are Covid-19 negative. Flu is from influenza virus A or B. Many patients come and ask us how they can get the flu when they were already vaccinated for Covid19. The vaccine given for Covid19 protects against coronavirus and not against the flu virus. Those who are wearing masks properly and washing hands regularly are protected. Those who have given up masks, as also the hand-wash are vulnerable and at risk."
Doctors say people caught with flu are getting angry as they believed that the vaccine for Covid19 protected them from all flus during the winter season.
The new flu strain H5N8 has been identified in Russia in December 2020 and it spreads from birds to humans. The strain was first detected in 2006 and the infected people suffered from health complications.
Dr Vijay Kumar, senior pulmonologist at Apollo says, "There is a lot of concern for Covid19 and once that is ruled out, attention turns to the influenza viruses. The tested cases are mostly of swine flu or H1N1. The present flu virus is not H5N8."
Doctors say that with the fall in temperatures, there is going to be an increase in influenza viruses and people must not guard against it by not giving up the safety protocols like the mask and hand-wash, as that will protect them from the flu too....