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South African Doctor Says Patients With Omicron Variant Have “Very Mild” Symptoms

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and chair of South African Medical Association, told Reuters that on Nov. 18 she noticed seven patients at her clinic who had symptoms different from the dominant Delta variant, albeit “very mild”

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South African Doctor Says Patients With Omicron Variant Have "Very Mild" Symptoms
Symptoms of the Omicron variant were so far mild and could be treated at home, said the doctor from South African
Highlights
  • COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’ was detected and announced by South Africa
  • Patients with Omicron have not reported loss of smell or taste: Expert
  • The predominant clinical complaint is severe fatigue for 1/2 days: Expert

Johannesburg: A South African doctor who was one of the first to suspect a different coronavirus strain among patients said on Sunday (November 28) that symptoms of the Omicron variant were so far mild and could be treated at home. Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and chair of South African Medical Association, told Reuters that on Nov. 18 she noticed seven patients at her clinic who had symptoms different from the dominant Delta variant, albeit “very mild”.

Also Read: WHO Meets To Assess New COVID-19 Variant Detected In South Africa

Now designated Omicron by the World Health Organization, the variant was detected and announced by South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Nov. 25 from samples taken from a laboratory from Nov. 14 to Nov. 16.

Dr Coetzee said a patient on Nov. 18 reported at her clinic being “extremely fatigued” for two days with body aches and headache.

Symptoms at that stage was very much related to normal viral infection. And because we haven’t seen COVID-19 for the past eight to 10 weeks, we decided to test, she said, adding that the patient and his family turned out to be positive.

On the same day, more patients came in with similar symptoms, which was when she realised there was “something else going on.” Since then, she’s seen two to three patients a day.

Also Read: Aerial Delivery Of COVID-19 Vaccine Through Octacopter Drones Launched In Jammu

“We have seen a lot of Delta patients during the third wave. And this doesn’t fit in the clinical picture,” she said, adding she alerted NICD on the same day with the clinical results.

Most of them are seeing very, very mild symptoms and none of them so far have admitted patients to surgeries. We have been able to treat these patients conservatively at home, she said.

Dr Coetzee, who is also on the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines, said unlike the Delta so far patients have not reported loss of smell or taste and there has been no major drop in oxygen levels with the new variant.

Her experience so far has been that the variant is affecting people who are 40 or younger. Almost half of the patients with Omicron symptoms that she treated were not vaccinated.

The most predominant clinical complaint is severe fatigue for one or two days. With them, the headache and the body aches and pain.

Also Read: Factbox: State Of Play Of India’s Healthcare Sector Exposed By COVID-19

The news of the new variant emerging from South Africa prompted a swift reaction from several countries, including Britain, which on Friday imposed a travel ban on several southern African countries with immediate effect, a decision South Africa has strongly contested.

Since Friday, many countries have also banned air travel to and from South Africa, including the United States, other European countries, and some Asian nations.

Also Read: COVID ‘Omicron’ Variant: Centre Advises States, UTs To Enhance Genomic Surveillance Of Incoming Passengers From ‘At Risk’ Countries

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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