The Odisha government has intensified its ILI (influenza-like illness) and SARI (severe acute respiratory infections) surveillance system following detection of 59 H3N2 cases, a health official said on Tuesday.

"The H3N2 has similar symptoms of cold, cough and fever like Covid-19 and other adenovirus. In view of the prevailing situation, we have strengthened our surveillance system through district-level disease surveillance units to identify H3N2 cases," said director, health services, Bijay Mohapatra.

"The state has sufficient kits to test Covid-19 virus. If someone found Covid-19 and still having symptoms like cold, cough, fever and sore throat, a sample of such a person will be sent for H3N2 test," he said.

The Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC)-Bhubaneswar has tested 225 suspected flu samples from different parts of Odisha for H3N2 during January and February 2023, of which, 59 samples were found positive for the H3N2.

However, no death was reported and not a single case has been found to be severe, Mohapatra said.

As per state's preparedness is concerned, the director said, "We have isolation units at secondary and tertiary level healthcare institutions. We have adequate oxygen beds, ICU beds and required medicine to meet any emergency, if it arises."

Asked about whether children are more vulnerable to become serious due to the disease, he said, "We are following the advice of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which is yet to give any guideline in this direction."

Mohapatra, who is a senior physician, advised people not to take unnecessary medicine without the advice of a doctor, if they develop symptoms. The symptomatic person should isolate himself and get tested, the official said.

The only precaution for the disease is to follow Covid appropriate behaviour, he added.

Earlier, Odisha state health secretary Shalini Pandit had asked all public health labs in 30 districts to continuously monitor the trend of ILI and SARI cases besides H1N1 and H3N2 surveillance.

The district-level disease surveillance units have been asked to remain in readiness and constantly monitoring the situation. Labs have been kept ready to handle the surge, if the situation arises, sources said.

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