Kathmandu, January 24
Six samples collected from Kalikot have tested positive for influenza type A, H3 strain (Hong Kong flu). The throat swab samples were tested in National Public Health Laboratory, Teku.
The samples were collected after 96 people showed influenza like illness in Manma, Khaadaachakra, of the district. From among the total six samples four have tested positive for influenza A, H3 strain, and the remaining two for influenza B, as per Dr Bhim Acharya, director at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division.
Earlier, 16 samples from Solukhumbu, five from Bajura and three from Jajarkot had tested positive for the flu.
Influenza cases are likely to increase because of humidity following today’s rainfall. “Though the influenza isn’t virulent, more cases are being detected now. So the number of cases may increase in the days to come,” said Dr Acharya.
National Influenza Centre has advised people not to panic as cases of influenza is common in the country. “The influenza is seen twice a year — after the rainy season and in winter season,” said Bishnu Prasad Upadhayay, consultant microbiologist, National Influenza Centre, Teku.
“People need not panic as the virus has not undergone significant genetic mutation. It would have been risky had the virus undergone genetic mutation. Then it would not have responded to medicines. The medicines we are using is appropriate and will work effectively,” he added.
However, health practitioners have advised people to take precautions. People living with HIV, cancer and tuberculosis are more vulnerable apart from children below the age of five years, pregnant women, alcoholics and smokers.
Doctors have advised people to avoid crowd, cover mouth and nose while sneezing, avoid unnecessary touching of nose and mouth, heat food, stay in a well-ventilated room and maintain personal hygiene to stay away from influenza.
Vaccines are also available in the market to avoid influenza risks.
“Children over six months and people older than 65 years can take the vaccines,” said Dr Anup Bastola, consultant tropical medicine physician at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku.
Influenza patients, however, shouldn’t take aspirin as it is likely to show symptoms of Reye’s syndrome, as per Dr Bastola.
A version of this article appears in print on January 25, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.