Tuesday, May 30, 2023

H&FW dept issues Covid, influenza advisory

In view of reports on rising cases of new variant of Covid-19 (XBB 1.16) and also Influenza H3N2 in the country, the Health & Family Welfare (H&FW) department has reiterated the importance of limiting and reducing transmission of respiratory tract infections.
In order to limit transmission of these diseases, principal director H&FW Dr Vibeituonuo M Sachu has called for practising respiratory and hand hygiene, early reporting of symptoms to healthcare workers to initiate early care and treatment and limiting contact of those people who are suffering from respiratory illness.
Accordingly, the department has advised covering one’s mouth and nose with tissue/handkerchief/elbow when coughing or sneezing, avoiding spitting in public places, using mask in crowded environment and frequent hand washing.
Dos & Don’ts: The H&FW department has also issued a list of dos and don’ts for infection prevention and control. It has advised washing hands with soap and water, wearing masks and avoiding crowded places, covering mouth and nose while sneezing, avoiding touching eyes and nose, taking plenty of fluids and taking Paracetamol for fever and body ache.
Further, the department has called for avoiding shaking hands or using contact greetings, spitting in public, taking antibiotics or other medicines without consulting a doctor and eating together sitting close to others.
According to the H&FW department, factors such as inadequate attention to personal hygiene, sneezing and coughing without protection in close proximity of other people, closed door gathering, etc, contributed to increased transmission of viral respiratory pathogens like Influenza A (H1N1, H3N2, etc), including COVID-19.
While most of these pathogens typically caused mild and often self-limiting illness manifesting as acute respiratory infection with fever and cough, the department mentioned that in some cases, particularly amongst young children, old age people, people with obesity and other co-morbidities (like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic renal and liver disease, etc) as well as pregnant women might suffer from more severe manifestation of these diseases requiring hospitalisation.
XBB1.16 Variant: Meanwhile, explaining that detection of XBB 1.16 variant of Covid-19 was done through genome sequencing of a positive Covid-19 sample, the H&FW department disclosed that the last positive case reported in Nagaland was on February 11 this year and the need for sending samples for genome sequencing did not arise.
The department claimed that surveillance had been intensified and all Rapid Response Teams had been put on alert. Further, it advised the people to come forward for testing of those exhibiting signs and symptoms of Respiratory Tract Infections.
Furthermore, though, there was rising trend of respiratory tract infections, including H3N2, Covid-19, there was no report of increased severity and the public have been requested to be vigilant and not panic.


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