Bengaluru: The Karnataka Health Department has put its healthcare infrastructure across the State on alert mode following reports of a surge in respiratory illnesses among children in China.
The action comes after the Centre issued an advisory to States and Union Territories urging them to immediately review public health and hospital preparedness measures. The Department also issued an advisory for citizens to be aware of the seasonal flu virus in regard to the same. “In view of the recent media reports of surge in respiratory illness among children in China and taking note of the World Health Organisation (WHO) statement on these reported cases, the increase in respiratory illness among children is attributed to usual causes like Influenza, Mycoplasma pneumonia, SARS-CoV-2, etc. and not due to any other unusual pathogen,” the Department noted in the advisory.
As per the advisory, seasonal flu is an infectious disease that typically lasts five to seven days and is known for its low morbidity and mortality rates. However, it poses a higher risk to infants, the elderly, pregnant women, the immunocompromised and those on long-term medications such as steroids, who may require hospitalisation.
The symptoms include fever, chills, malaise, loss of appetite, myalgia, nausea, sneezing and a dry cough that can last up to three weeks in high-risk groups.
The advisory also mentions the DOs and DON’Ts to avoid any kind of infection. These include covering the mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing, frequent hand washing, avoiding unnecessary touching of the face and using face masks in crowded places.
Union Health Ministry in its advisory said that currently, the situation is not that alarming, adding that it is closely monitoring the situation. “In view of the recent reports indicating a surge in respiratory illness in children in northern China in recent weeks, the Union Health Ministry has proactively decided to review the preparedness measures against respiratory illnesses, as a matter of abundant caution. This is noted to be important in view of the ongoing influenza and winter season that results in an increase in respiratory illness cases,” it said. “The Government of India is closely monitoring the situation and indicated that there is no need for any alarm,” the Ministry said.
The Union Health Secretary has also written a letter to States & UTs advising them to immediately review public health and hospital preparedness.