China Respiratory Infections: Indian States On Alert After Central Govt Advisory

New Delhi: Several states have switched to alert mode after the Central government’s recent directive to review readiness following a surge in mysterious respiratory illnesses among children in China.

“All States and Union Territories have been advised to implement ‘Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in the context of COVID-19’, shared earlier this year, which provides for integrated surveillance of respiratory pathogens presenting as cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI),” the Union Health ministry said in a statement.

State governments in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Tamil Nadu have taken heed, and directed hospitals and healthcare staff to be prepared to tackle patients complaining of respiratory problems.

Asking citizens to be aware of the seasonal flu, the Karnataka Health department listed symptoms and risk factors of seasonal flu, and also mentioned the do’s and don’ts include covering mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing, frequent washing of hands, avoiding touching the face and using masks in crowded spots.

Rajasthan’s advisory says that the situation is “not worrisome at present”, but medical staff must keep vigil and prevent spread of infectious diseases, adding that adequate arrangements should be made in paediatric units and medicine departments.

Gujarat’s Health Minister Rushikesh Patel said the healthcare infrastructure that was created during COVID-19 pandemic is being strengthened as precautionary measure taking into consideration the situation in China.

Pushkar Dhami-headed Uttarakhand government advised health officials to step up surveillance for cases of respiratory illnesses, especially as 3 districts of the state — Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Pithoragarh — share borders with China.

Haryana put out a directive stressing that any “clustering of unusual respiratory illness” in public or private hospitals must be reported immediately, while government-run and private hospitals in Tamil Nadu have received a similar direction.

A spike in cases of respiratory issues in northern China, particularly among children, has triggered concern about 4 years after coronavirus surfaced in the country and went on to become a global pandemic.

According to Chinese health authorities, the infections are a mix of already known viruses.

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