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Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan

Over 25% of samples tested positive for adenovirus since January 1: Health Ministry

The majority of samples tested by the Indian Council of Medical Research to know the cause of rising trends of different viruses have found that over 25% of samples contained adenovirus since January 1, 2023.

In a letter to states, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said that since January 1, 2023, as per testing of respiratory samples being undertaken by various ICMR’s VRDL labs, almost 25.4% of the samples have tested positive for adenovirus.

The Union Health Secretary has directed the states to implement operational guidelines for revised surveillance strategy in the context of COVID19 and influenza.

Bhushan stated that states and union territories should maintain hospital and other healthcare infrastructure, including medical oxygen, medical equipment, drugs, human resource capacity building based on existing guidelines, and vaccination coverage against COVID19 and influenza.

According to him, there is an increasing trend of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI), across the country.

Further, as per integrated sentinel-based surveillance of ILI and SARI, an upswing in influenza is being observed since the latter half of December 2022.

Of particular concern is the preponderance of influenza A (H3N2) being detected in the samples being analysed in various labs, he emphasised in his letter.

It should also be noted that young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with co-morbidities are particularly vulnerable to H1N1, H3N2, and adenoviruses, among others, he said.

Bhushan has stated that states should raise community awareness regarding adherence to respiratory and hand hygiene (like covering one’s mouth and now with tissue/elbow when coughing or sneezing, avoiding spitting in public places, preferably using of mask in crowded environments and frequent hand wash etc, promoting early reporting of symptoms, limiting the contact of those people who are suffering from respiratory illness.

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