Influenza A H3N2 variant viruses (also known as H3N2v viruses) with the matrix (M) gene from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus were first detected in people in July 2011. H3N2v is a influenza virus that normally circulates in pigs. However, when these viruses infect humans, they are termed ‘variant viruses’.

The H3N2 variant tends to have a high mutation rate during February-March as the season transforms from winter to summer. Additionally, as mask mandates have been lifted due to low COVID-19 cases, scope of mass gathering, and socialisation has also increased which provided suitable ground for rapid spread of the variant. Authorities are likely to maintain high vigilance and undertake precautionary measures including restoration of mask mandates or social distancing, which may again impact businesses.

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  • Incubation period – one-four days
  • Highly contagious – spreads through infected people and contaminated surface
  • Of those hospitalised with influenza A H3N2, 10 percent required oxygen support and seven percent required ICU support.

People at risk:

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Areas with high case rate:

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  • Pan-India: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has advised against indiscriminate use of antibiotics without doctor’s prescription.
  • Karnataka: State Government has mandated face masks for healthcare staff.
  • Haryana: Gurugram health department alerted Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) to remain vigilant.
  • Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: Hospitals on alert over increasing flu cases.
  • Tamil Nadu: To hold mega fever camp (1000 camps) from 0900 hours on Friday (10 March).
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If fever persists beyond three days, consult a doctorSelf-diagnose/self-medicate with antibiotic
Wash hands with soap and waterTouch nose and mouth with unsanitized hands
Wear face masksAttend large gatherings
If infected, isolateIgnore symptoms
Travel responsibly (cover faces while sneezing/coughing and maintainSpit in public
Adhere by government directivesPanic creation/ spread of false news

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