As some states in the country witnessing a rising trend in Influenza-like Illness (ILIs) and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARIs), Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhusan has shot a letter to the concerned states and Union Territories (UTs).
In the letter, Bhusan said that it is important to raise community awareness regarding adherence to respiratory and hand hygiene, promoting early reporting of symptoms, and limiting the contact of those people who are suffering from respiratory illness.
''While Influenza is an annual seasonal occurrence, in the present season, a variety of weather conditions and behavioural reasons (like less than adequate attention to personal hygiene, sneezing and coughing without adequate protection in close proximity of other people, closed indoor gatherings of people, etc.) make the environment conducive to the circulation of a number of viral respiratory pathogens like Influenza A (H1N1, H3N2 etc.), Adenoviruses, etc,'' Bhusan said in his letter.
He further added that special care should be taken in the case of young children, old age people and people suffering from co-morbidities who are particularly at risk.
Bhusan reminded that the gradual rise in COVID-19 test positivity rates in some states is a concerning issue that needs to be promptly addressed.
''Despite the low number of new cases, equally low number of hospitalisations and significant advances made in terms of COVID-19 vaccination coverage, there is still a need to remain vigilant and focus fivefold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour,'' he added.
''In order to limit transmission of these diseases, it is important to raise community awareness regarding adherence to respiratory and hand hygiene (like covering one's mouth and nose with a tissue/elbow when coughing or sneezing, avoiding spitting in public places, preferably use of mask in crowded environments, frequent hand wash etc.), promoting early reporting of symptoms, and limiting the contact of those people who are suffering from respiratory illness,'' the letter further read.
He also instructed the States/District Integrated Diseases Surveillance Programme (IDSP) units to monitor the proportion of SARI cases among all ILIs and SARI cases in their respective areas and refer the sufficient number of samples for testing for Influenza, SARS-COV-2 and Adenovirus.
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