Odisha sees spike in viral, flu cases amid ‘Eris’ concern

Meanwhile, the state reported two new Covid cases out of 701 samples tested in last 24 hours.

Published: 11th August 2023 09:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2023 09:17 AM   |  A+A-

fever, virus , influenza , H3N2

For representational purposes

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: AMID concern over new Covid variant EG.5.1 dubbed as Eris that has emerged as the second-most common infection in the UK, there has been a sudden spike in viral and flu cases having symptoms similar to Covid-19 in the state.

While the main symptoms of the new variant in circulation include sore throat, blocked nose, dry cough, headache and body ache, people with viral fever and seasonal flu reporting at various hospitals here are also complaining of similar symptoms.

As Covid testing has dropped significantly following the drastic decline in cases, the surge in flu cases with people suffering from prolonged stuffy nose and cough-like conditions in Covid has led to fear among patients.

Flu or viral infection is a short-term illness that lasts a few days and subsides by itself, but in some of the recent cases even healthy individuals are feeling unwell for up to two weeks even if there is no fever or any symptom of the disease. What concerns the most is that several patients are not coming forward to report fever or breathlessness and are practising self-medication.   

Although the state health authorities are yet to come up with any advisory, health experts have warned people to remain alert and report to doctors once they feel breathlessness and congestion in the chest following the detection of a few cases of Eris in Maharashtra.

Senior internal medicine specialist Dr Niroj Mishra said despite the spike in viral and influenza cases, Odisha may not have yet reported any case of the new variant. But, since it can have a growth advantage of almost 15 to 20 per cent over previous strains and can spread faster, people must remain alert.

“This variant is not much different from what we have seen with earlier Omicron and its sublineages. Waning immunity from previous infections and vaccinations could be the reason behind the fresh spike in infections, but people with Covid-like symptoms must undergo tests and report instead of self-medication,” he advised.

Director of health services Dr Bijay Mohapatra said the state government is yet to take a call on the new variant as it has not been properly studied yet. “We are having a close watch on the rate of infection and spike in Covid cases, if any in other states. We urge people to follow normal hygiene and remain in self-isolation if they have flu symptoms and use masks at public places,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state reported two new Covid cases out of 701 samples tested in the last 24 hours. After the recovery of two patients, the number of active cases stood at 14.

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