XBB variant surge in Maharashtra: State asks citizens to check signs for long Covid

All civic bodies have been directed to keep a tab on those who have recovered from the infection.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Tuesday, November 01, 2022, 12:24 AM IST
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XBB surge in Maharashtra: State asks citizens to check signs for long Covid | File Photo

Mumbai: Amid the surge of new XBB variant, the State Health Department has now directed medical health officers of all the civic bodies to keep a tab or conduct follow up on those who have recovered from Covid.

The move comes after the State Covid Task Force (SCTF) expressed concerns about long Covid–which are lingering complications affecting health of recovered people–coupled with rising incidences of diabetes, brain fog and heart diseases. The officials have also urged citizens to follow Covid norms in public places.

Close-watch on long Covid and post-Covid complications

State Surveillance Officer Dr Pradip Awate said since the second wave started they had directed all the district health officers to keep close watch on patients with long Covid and post-Covid complications. “As per the study, there are around 5% of long Covid patients across the state, who need to be closely monitored. We are also focusing on recovered people who have developed post-Covid complications which is the major concern raised by the SCTF members,” he said.

PD Hinduja Hospital Consultant Infectious Diseases Dr Umang Agrawal said that there is a lot of hue and cry about the new XBB variant. Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO), he underlined that this variant does not indicate any change in the severity or increased transmissibility of Covid. A higher incidence of reinfection has been noted, predominantly in those who were infected before Omicron surfaced. As per the WHO data, so far, there isn't enough evidence available to label XBB as a variant of concern albeit a close vigilance is advised, Dr Agrawal added.

XBB and long Covid related?

“In my opinion, it may be a bit too early to comment on the association of the XBB variant with long Covid. I agree with experts that we need more data and close monitoring of patients affected with this variant to confirm this association. In the interim, it's important to emphasise on the need for masking and social distancing as a protective measure,” he said.

SCTF President Dr Sanjay Oak said that long Covid cases with complications are increasing exponentially and the alarming rate at which deaths in younger people are occurring is a matter of concern. “We aren't doing enough to handle the post-Covid complications. Many cardiac deaths have been reported in youngsters, but we can't connect them with Covid infection or vaccination yet. But I have never seen so many hip replacement or joint surgeries; many of these patients are surprisingly dependent on oxygen,” he said.

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