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Pneumonia outbreak in China: Karnataka health dept issues advisory against seasonal flu after alert by Centre

Karnataka: The Karnataka government's 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 move comes following an advisory from the central government to States and Union Territories, urging them to promptly assess public health and hospital preparedness measures.

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

Karnataka: The Karnataka government’s 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. They has also advised the general public to be aware of the seasonal flu The move comes following an advisory from the central government to States and Union Territories, urging them to promptly assess public health and hospital preparedness measures.

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The office of the Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare Services in Karnataka said Tuesday, “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. The government of India is closely monitoring the situation and indicated that there is no need for any alarm.”

The Karnataka Health Department also issued an advisory for citizens to be aware of the seasonal flu virus in regard to the same. As per the advisory, seasonal flu is an infectious disease that spreads from person to person through cough or sneeze or through contact with droplets.

This self-limiting disease lasts for five to seven days and causes low morbidity and mortality, the statement added. 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 hospitalization.

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. For those who suspect that they might have the flu, the advisory recommends visiting the nearest government healthcare centre and staying at home. It asks to use a face mask, avoid close contact with others at least seven days and not self-medicating without consulting a doctor.

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The advisory also mentions the do’s and don’ts to avoid any kind of infection. Avoid visiting crowded places and if visiting such places use a face mask. Maintain a basic minimum distance from persons affected with flu.

Sleep adequately, be physically active and deal with stress effectivel. Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food. Avoid spitting in public.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.

Earlier, the Union Health Ministry in its advisory on Sunday said that currently, the situation is not that alarming, adding that it is closely monitoring the situation. The statement from the Health Ministry came in view of recent reports indicating a surge in respiratory illness in children in northern China.

Union Health Secretary has also written a letter to States and UTs advising them to immediately review public health and hospital preparedness measures. The ministry said,”All States and Union Territories have been advised to implement ‘Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in the context of COVID-19’, shared earlier this year, which provides for integrated surveillance of respiratory pathogens presenting as cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI).”

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