Due to the distance made from the mask, the cases of flu started spreading rapidly, even the existing vaccine is not effective on this.


Flu cases have suddenly increased two years after the pandemic. Experts say that people not wearing masks and possible mutations of influenza could be the reason for this.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) stated that the major cause of the current respiratory illness is influenza A subtype H3N2. Issuing a detailed advisory, ICMR said, ‘ICMR-DHR has established a comprehensive respiratory virus surveillance facility in all 30 virus research and diagnostic laboratories.’

Well-known virus expert Jacob John said that these viruses have always been around us, but their spread has decreased in the last two years due to people wearing masks. John said, ‘The virus has now got a chance to spread due to the crowd of people and not wearing masks.’

People of all age groups are getting infected and a large number of children and elderly people are reaching the doctors with respiratory problems.

Rajeev Gupta, Consultant, Internal Medicine, CK Birla Hospital, said, “Fle cases have increased by 200 per cent since November 2022. However, from the middle of February 2023, there is a decrease in the cases of infection.

Doctors say that there are three main reasons behind the increase in cases of infection, including the winter season during November to January, pollution in the environment and increasing spread of virus infection.

Romil Tikku, director of internal medicine at Max Healthcare, said, “The cases of flu started coming from October-November and did not stop after that. Initially people complain of sore throat and later the problem of cough starts. It seems to be a combination of some kind of virus.

The current H3N2 variant originated during the 1968 pandemic. However, experts say that due to the increased awareness about the virus among the people during Kovid, people have become aware of virology and the specific names of its forms. Jacob said, ‘These viruses have been around us for a long time and people have been getting infected by it. Now they have started knowing the name of the virus associated with respiratory infection.

Some doctors believe that there has been a change in the nature of the virus and the current formulation of the vaccine is not effective in controlling this flu. A senior industry official expressed hope that the World Health Organization (WHO) may bring new formulations of the vaccine in view of the widespread spread of the infection.

An industry source said, “WHO has identified some form of the virus for influenza vaccine. It was much more effective two years ago than it is now. It was a common flu but it is constantly mutating. We hope that WHO can issue guidelines regarding the new format.

There is also a problem that there is a lack of awareness among people about influenza vaccine. This type of vaccine has to be taken every year.

Tikku said, ‘The knowledge about this vaccination is less even among the educated people. You can become infected with the flu, but its severity may be relatively mild. The most favorable time to take this vaccine is as soon as winter starts in October-November.

Doctors said that at this time last year also there was spread of omicron form of coronavirus, so there were fewer cases of common flu.

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