76 samples of COVID XBB 1.16 found in India: INSACOG

A total of 76 samples of the new COVID variant XBB 1.16 have been found in the country, according to INSACOG, the forum that studies and monitors genome sequencing and viral variation of circulating COVID-19 strains in India.

According to official information, the samples were found in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Puducherry, Delhi, Telangana, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha. Most cases of XBB 1.16 were found in Karnataka and Maharashtra, the data shows.

Nine people have died nationwide from H3N2 infection

The death toll from H3N2 infection has risen to nine. The latest case was reported from Pimpri-Chinchwad in Pune, when a 73-year-old man succumbed to the virus infection on Friday, reports said.

With the increasing risk of this seasonal influenza virus, state and union territory governments have issued recommendations urging people to practice hygiene and take care of children and the elderly.


What are the most common symptoms of these viral infections?

Although two different viruses are discussed here, the symptoms are similar (perhaps because both viruses affect the airways of a healthy person).

The most common signs that can confuse people as to whether it is H3N2 or COVID are fatigue, cough, headache and sore throat.

​How to distinguish between the two infections?​

While clinically it is difficult to distinguish between the two infections, confirmation can be obtained after testing.

The flu is more likely to cause a high fever and myalgia, or body aches.

The classic signs of COVID are a sore throat, cough and a stuffy or runny nose.

“Compared to the flu, COVID-19 can cause more severe illness in some people. Compared to people with the flu, people infected with COVID-19 may take longer to show symptoms and be contagious longer,” the US CDC says.

When do these infections spread?

The US CDC says, “People with an influenza virus infection may be contagious for about a day before showing symptoms,” adding that “older children and adults with influenza appear to be most contagious during the first 3-4 days of their illness . but some people can stay contagious a little longer. Babies and people with compromised immune systems can be contagious even longer.”

In the case of COVID, people can spread the virus 2-3 days before symptoms appear, and this peaks just a day before symptoms appear. COVID-infected people can spread the disease even if they don’t show symptoms.

The complications people need to watch out for

Although these infections appear to be mild in nature, they can lead to serious complications in those who are at risk.

The most common complications that occur after a COVID and flu attack are pneumonia, respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, heart injury, multiple organ failure, inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissue, and other bacterial and fungal infections.


​How to prevent these virus attacks?​

The best way to prevent these attacks is to limit exposure to the factors that help spread the viruses.

Avoid crowds unless necessary. Wear masks in public places. Always keep your hands sanitized. Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid touching exposed surfaces. Maintain physical distance from people showing symptoms. If you have flu or COVID symptoms, avoid going out. If there are children or the elderly in your home, stay away from them if they are infected.

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