Hong Kong Flu – The Virus That Killed A Million In A Year is Active Again In 2018
Hong Kong Flu Epidemic is Back And Is On A Killing Spree It Has Killed More Than 100 In Just A Month In 2018.
Do you remember the Great Flu Pandemic of 1968, who killed estimated 1million people world wide within 7months. The deadly H3N2 virus has raised its ugly head again and is on a killing spree, it has killed more than 120 people including two below 18 yrs of age till February 2018 that is in just a month of outbreak. Again it has broke out in same region and all the schools and kindergartens of Hong Kong will remain closed till 27 february 2018.
H3N2 is strain of influenza A virus, the orthomyxoviridae family – these are simgle stranded segmented RNA-Virus and they have numerous subtypes which are named by numbers based on type of Heamagglutinin “H number” and “N number” for type of Neuraminidase.
Following are known subtypes of Influenza A virus that can infect humans and are listed as per number of known pandemic human deaths.
- H1N1- Spanish Flu(1918) or Swine Flu recently
- H2N2- Asian Flu(1950)
- H3N2 – Hong kong Flu(1968) and 2018
- H5N1- Avian Flu-Global influenza pandemic (mid-2000) – with fatality rate of 50% it becomes the most falat virus of all know Influenza virus that infect humans it also causes diarrhoea.
- H1N2- currently endemic in pigs and humans.
Hong Kong Flu virus H3N2 is desendent of H2N2 through antigenic shift, a process in which genes from various subtypes make up a new virus sub type.
In 1968 the outbreak had started in July and within 3 months of outbreak in Hong Kong it had reached almost all the conitnent including Europe, Australia, Asia, North America, South America. in Hong Kong the virus infected population of 5lacs and the epidemic density in the region was 500 infected people per acre, and had infected 15% of USA population. Though it didnt claim all those who were infected as the fatality index of epidemic by this virus is low 0.5% and falls in category 2 of pandemic severity index and also its seen that every subsequent outbreak is milder as it seems that people in affected region develops some immunity towards N2 at every outbreak.
Symptoms of HongKong Flu
Symptoms are similar to that of any other flu and lasts for 4-5 days
In severe cases along with above symptoms
- Difficulty Breathing
- Severe Debility
- Blood in Sputum
- It takes more severe form and is more fatal in people above age of 65years.
If you are residing in locality where there is epidemic of Hong Kong Flu or you have a travel history in epidemic region or if u have come in contact with person infected with H3N2 and if symptoms of flu appears the first you need to do
Rapid Influeza Diagnostic Test (RIDT) is a blood test which detects wether the flu is of Type A or Type B. If Type A turns out to be positive then you should further go for PCR test for confirmation of subtype
The RIDT is not much sensitive and its advisable to go straight away with PCR in high risk group and in epidemic prone areas
Treatment and Management
In allopathy there is no medicine that can cure H3N2 infection, so treatment remain symptomatic. if symptoms are mild a person doesnt need to be admitted and can stay under observation of healthcare professional on OPD basis but if symptoms deteriorated then its advisable to admit.
In homoeopathy there is treatment for Hong Kong Flu and medicines differs from patient to patient.
Commonly used Homoeopathic medicines for Hong Kong Flu are
- Eupatorium Perfoliatum
- Rhus Toxicodendron
- Aconitum Napellus
- Arsenicum Album
- Avoid travelling to epidemic region.
- Avoid going to public places if you are in epidemic region.
- It can spread through air so dont stay in room with infected person and maintain at least few feet distance from infected individual. wear mask if required otherwise.
- Avoid contact with body fluids and secretions wear gloves if requires otherwise.
- If you are infected with the virus or have flu like symptoms after travel history to epidemic region then isolate yourself so that you dont spread the virus to others and get properly diagnosed and treated.
- Health authorities should be highly vigilent and keep check on travellers in epidemic region.