In the wake of the rising spread of H3N2 variant of Influenza A virus, the Karnataka government has made masks mandatory for healthcare staff and issued an advisory to avoid unnecessary gatherings.

State Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar said the H3N2 infection has been detected in 26 people, and H1N1 infection in 20 people. Both the variants are subtypes of Influenza A virus. The state has also registered 69 adenoid virus cases, he added.

The minister said children, people above 65 years of age, people with co-morbidities and pregnant women, who are more prone to contract the infection, have been advised to avoid unnecessary gatherings.

The virus is not a cause of concern and there is no need to panic. “Although it’s not particularly concerning, we decided to meet the expert committee and assess the situation,” he added. He said the state is well equipped to deal with the present situation and added that people should avoid self-treatment.

Since December 2022, the flu-causing H3N2 variant has been on the rise, and is known to cause Covid-19-like respiratory symptoms. It is believed to be responsible for the majority of cases of persistent cough, nausea, sore throat, and other common flu symptoms.