H3N2 outbreak: Puducherry schools to remain shut from March 16-26.

Amid the spike in cases of H3N2 virus, Puducherry government announced that all schools upto class 8 will remain closed from 16 March (Thursday) to 26 March (Sunday) in the union territory.

Speaking in the assembly, Education Minister A Nammasivayam said that in view of spread of H3N2 influenza among children, the government has decided to declare a holiday for all schools including privately-managed institutions and government-aided schools from primary class to Class 8, reported news agency PTI.

The order will be in force for schools in all the four regions of Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam amid the spike in influenza cases particularly among children, the minister added.

According to the health department officials, Puducherry reported 79 influenza cases belonging to the viral H3N2 subtype till March 4, though no death has been reported till now. The officials also advised the citizens not to panic as the arrangements have been made at hospitals and primary health centres to keep a check on rising cases, the report added.

Several states including Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat, and Karnataka are recording a spike in the H3N2 cases. According to the Union Health Ministry, Karnataka and Haryana have confirmed one death each from H3N2 influenza so far.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), H3N2 is a non-human influenza virus that was first detected in 2011 in humans with genes from avian, swine, and human viruses and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus M gene.

The symptoms include fever, respiratory issues like cough and runny nose, as well as other symptoms including body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Children below five years of age, people of age 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions are more prone to develop complications due to the H3N2 influenza.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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