Chronic Conditions 3 MIN READ 39 VIEWS March 17, 2023

H3N2 in India: Here’s What You Need to Know

Written By HealthKart


H3N2 is by nature a non-human influenza virus that circulates in pigs primarily. It is a subtype of the Influenza A virus. Viruses that spread from pigs to other pigs are known as swine influenza virus. In recent times, the virus has also started infecting humans. When such viruses infect humans, they are known as variant viruses. Influenza viruses can spread from pigs to people and vice versa.

The pig-to-human contamination occurs in the same manner as it happens between two humans — when a pig sneezes or coughs, the virus spreads. When the droplets are inhaled or when they land in the mouth or nose, the person gets infected. A second possibility of getting infected is by touching something that has got the virus on it and then touching one’s mouth or nose. The third possibility is inhaling particles that contain the influenza virus.

Why is H3N2 in the News?

Recently, India has witnessed a surge in H3N2 virus cases. The nature of the illness is a respiratory tract infection, which is caused by four types of viruses such as A, B, C and D. In India, many states including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha and Haryana have reported cases of the viral infection. Post H1N1, H3N2 has been a dominant subtype, which has spread rapidly between January 2 and March 5, with a current count of 451 cases. The state governments around the country are taking steps to prevent the outbreak of the infection which might impact the socio-economic conditions once again, similar to the COVID-19 situation.

Symptoms of the H3N2 Virus

Quite similar to seasonal flu, the symptoms of the H3N2 virus are as follows:

  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat

Is H3N2 Dangerous?

With respect to the cases of infected individuals reported, the nature of the viral infection is akin to the seasonal flu. However, it must be kept in mind that even seasonal influenza can contribute to complications such as pneumonia which will require the patient to be hospitalised. To ensure maximum protection, it is crucial to understand the vulnerable groups who are at higher risk of infection-induced health complications as compared to others.

  • Children under 5 years of age
  • Pregnant women
  • Senior citizens
  • People suffering from conditions such as renal, liver, chronic cardiac, pulmonary, hematologic, and neurodevelopmental conditions.
  • Patients who are currently on steroids, chemotherapy and/or are suffering from immunosuppressive conditions like HIV/AIDS.
  • Healthcare workers are constantly involved in care activities and exposed to patients who are at greater risk of spreading the infection to vulnerable people.

Treatment Mode for H3N2 Viral Infection

In order to get the treatment for this virus, here are some points you need to keep in mind:

1. Get in touch with a doctor for appropriate diagnosis and treatment when you feel unwell or notice any of the symptoms mentioned above.

2. If the doctor suspects that your report is indicative of the H3N2 virus, you may be asked to run some tests:

  • Real-time RT-PCR-Throat or nasal swabs
  • Regular urine and blood tests
  • Antibody tests for H3N2
  • Culture tests

3. Maintain proper nutrition and adequate hydration.

4. Warm saline gargles and steam inhalation that help soothe throat or ear discomfort that is associated with a cough.

5. Stick to the treatment as advised by your doctor. The doctor prescribes anti-viral medications when they consider it necessary.

6. If you suffer from high-grade fever or face difficulty with breathing, you should seek medical help right away.

How to Prevent H3N2 Viral Infection?

Listed below are the steps you can take in order to prevent this infection:

  • Maintain respiratory hygiene — cover your mouth with a handkerchief or tissue paper when you are out in public and have the need to sneeze or cough.
  • You must wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating anything or after returning home.
  • Get yourself vaccinated annually.
  • Isolate yourself when you are feeling feverish and protect those around you.
  • Avoid venturing out in places that have the possibility of being crowded.


The chances of complete containment of seasonal influenza are quite low. The best way to prevent the virus from spreading is by propagating knowledge about preventive measures and taking the right treatment steps when the need arises.

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