States asked to monitor influenza, Covid trends

(Last Updated On: March 13, 2023)

GUWAHATI: In the light of rising cases of the seasonal influenza subtype H3N2, the Centre on Saturday expressed concern over a gradual increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate in some states and said it needed to be promptly addressed.

The Centre requested all states and union territories to follow operational guidelines for integrated surveillance of respiratory pathogens presenting as cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) or severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).

The states were also requested to take a stock of hospital preparedness such as availability of drugs and medical oxygen, vaccination coverage against COVID-19 and influenza.

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“While the COVID-19 trajectory has decreased substantially in last few months, the gradual rise in COVID-19 test positivity rates in some states is a concerning issue that needs to be promptly addressed,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to states and UTs on Saturday.

Despite low number of new cases, equally low number of hospitalisations and significant advances made in terms of COVID-19 vaccination coverage, Bhushan said, there is a need to remain vigilant and focus on the five-fold strategy of test, track, treat, vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour.

In light of rising trend in other ILIs and SARIs being witnessed in some states and UTs across the country, a meeting was held recently to review the current situation with the central ministries, departments and organisations concerned.

Under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), as reported by states and UTs, an increasing trend of ILI/SARI is being observed across the country, Bhushan stated.

Further, according to integrated sentinel based surveillance of ILI and SARI, an upswing of Influenza A is observed since the latter half of December last.

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