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SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza Virus Co-Infection Cases Identified through ILI/SARI Sentinel Surveillance: A Pan-India Report

SARS-CoV-2/influenza virus co-infection studies have focused on hospitalized patients who usually had grave sequelae. Here, we report SARS-CoV-2/influenza virus co-infection cases from both community and hospital settings reported through integrated ILI/SARI (Influenza Like Illness/Severe Acute Respiratory Infection) sentinel surveillance established by the Indian Council of Medical Research. We describe the disease progression and outcomes in these cases. Out of 13,467 samples tested from 4 July 2021-31 January 2022, only 5 (0.04%) were of SARS-CoV-2/influenza virus co-infection from 3 different sites in distinct geographic regions. Of these, three patients with extremes of age required hospital admission, but none required ICU admission or mechanical ventilation. No mortality was reported. The other two co-infection cases from community settings were managed at home. This is the first report on SARS-CoV-2/Influenza virus co-infection from community as well as hospital settings in India and shows that influenza viruses are circulating in the community even during COVID-19. The results emphasize the need for continuous surveillance for multiple respiratory pathogens for effective public health management of ILI/SARI cases in line with the WHO (World Health Organization) recommendations.

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