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China pneumonia outbreak: India puts 3 states on alert

Gujarat, Karnataka, and Uttarakhand have alerted their health authorities after the Centre’s directive to review readiness in case there is a surge in respiratory illnesses among children. This alarm comes vis-a-vis increased cases of respiratory illness among children in China.

The advisory emphasizes seasonal flu as a significant concern, noting its usual duration of five to seven days and generally low rates of severe impact. However, it poses heightened risks for infants, the elderly, pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals, and those on long-term medications like steroids, potentially leading to hospitalization. Symptoms encompass fever, chills, malaise, appetite loss, muscle pain, nausea, sneezing, and a dry cough, persisting up to three weeks in high-risk groups.

To prevent infections, the advisory outlines essential practices, including covering the mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing, regular handwashing, refraining from unnecessary facial touching, and advocating the use of face masks in crowded settings.

Following the Union health ministry’s prompt to assess hospital preparedness, various states’ Health Departments extended similar advisories to civil hospitals, sub-district hospitals, Chief District Health Officers, and health officers of municipal corporations.

Acknowledging the respiratory nature of this ailment, the government’s spokesperson, and a minister, highlighted efforts to fortify the healthcare infrastructure established during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In line with the state government’s advisory issued by additional director (public health) Dr. Nilam Patel, there’s a reassurance that India need not sound alarm bells, but it’s an opportune moment to review public health systems and hospital readiness. Local authorities have been directed to ensure the optimal functioning of medical equipment, including oxygen plants and O2 concentrators, to tackle any potential surge in cases. The Statesman

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