Maharashtra has reported two fatalities suspected to be caused by influenza. One of them, a 74-year-old man, died of the H3N2 sub-type while the other victim was infected by COVID-19 as well as the influenza virus, state Health Minister Tanaji Sawant told the Assembly on Wednesday.
He said state health machinery has been put on alert with 361 cases of influenza infections being reported in the state, and guidelines will be issued in the next two days.
The minister also advised the use of masks in crowded places and social distancing.
“Two persons have died due to influenza, including a 23-year-old first-year student of MBBS in Ahmednagar. He tested positive for COVID-19 as well as H1N1 and H3N2 viruses. Another victim is a 74-year-old man from Nagpur who died of H3N2,” Sawant said.
Influenza is caused by two types of viruses, H1N1 and H3N2, he said, adding that guidelines will be issued in the next two days after a detailed discussion with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
“Influenza has been detected in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Thane, Sangli, and Kolhapur. There are 303 cases of H1N2 and 58 patients of H3N2,” Sawant said.
The minister said all district and rural health centres have been activated and put on alert along with oxygen projects. The preparedness will be reviewed every three hours, he added.
Sawant said the symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, and pneumonia.
“Fever can subside in 48 to 72 hours if Tamiflu is taken with medical advice. Fever and body pains should be treated early,” he said and appealed to people to use masks and follow social distancing norms besides maintaining personal hygiene including washing hands etc.
Speaking to reporters, Sawant said a report (to ascertain the exact cause of death of the two patients either by H3N2 or COVID-19) is awaited.
“Preliminary report suggests that H3N2 does not lead to death,” he added.
The minister said doctors have been asked to treat suspected patients immediately. He also cautioned against not consuming Tamiflu without a doctor’s prescription.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)