Some youngsters who contract the newest COVID variant are presenting with a brand new and strange symptom: pink eye, or conjunctivitis.
In accordance with TODAY, anecdotal stories counsel that the XBB.1.16 Omicron subvariant — already dubbed the Arcturus variant on social media — could also be inflicting pink eye in pediatric sufferers. Though the USA authorities will declare an finish to the COVID-19 public well being emergency in Could, some specialists are anticipating a surge in instances from this new variant, which is extremely contagious.
In accordance with knowledge from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC), it’s at present the second commonest pressure of COVID within the U.S., monitoring proper behind XBB.1.5, its predecessor.
Right here’s what dad and mom must know concerning the Arcturus XBB.1.16 variant, together with which signs to look out for in youngsters.
Right here’s what we all know concerning the XBB.1.16 variant, AKA Arcturus.
The XBB.1.16 variant of COVID-19 was first reported to the World Well being Group (WHO) this January. It’s circulating in additional than 30 international locations across the globe and is at present the dominant pressure in India.
This Omicron subvariant appears and behaves equally to XBB.1.5, one other variant within the Omicron household. The latter has been the dominant COVID variant within the U.S. “for a while,” Dr. Andy Pekosz, a virologist at Johns Hopkins College, instructed TODAY.
XBB.1.16 is at present designated as a “variant of curiosity” by WHO. It seems to comprise a mutation that makes it extra transmissible than older variants — and higher at evading vaccine-induced immunity.
Scientists are nonetheless unsure as as to whether XBB.1.16 causes extra extreme sickness in sufferers.
The brand new variant is related to this uncommon symptom in youngsters.
Since XBB.1.16 is a subvariant of Omicron, this pressure presents with comparable signs, together with a sore throat, runny nostril, sneezing, coughing, fatigue, and muscle aches.
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious ailments at Vanderbilt College Medical Heart, instructed TODAY that XBB.1.16 inflicting extra fevers than earlier COVID variants. It’s also related to pink eye, AKA conjunctivitus, in youngsters.
Pink eye may be brought on by viral or bacterial infections. Signs embody redness, swelling, and itchiness within the eyes. The excellent news? COVID-related pink eye infections clear up shortly, they usually don’t seem to have any lasting results in sufferers.
Nonetheless, as any mum or dad is aware of, pink eye is tremendous contagious — particularly amongst youngsters. “For those who contact the pink eye an infection, you may get [it] in your arms and transmit it to another person,” Schaffner defined.
So, how can dad and mom hold themselves and their households protected from this pink eye-causing variant? COVID vaccines are a superb first line of protection. The CDC recommends this protected and efficient vaccine for everybody 6 months and older.
“The present really helpful vaccines are efficient at stopping severe illness for all the Omicron variants,” Schaffner added.
Since COVID primarly spreads through contact with respiratory droplets, you might also contemplate outfitting your loved ones with efficient, well-fitting face masks. And if anybody in your loved ones displays signs of COVID, make sure to get them examined for the virus.