UAE: Omicron variant may lead to long Covid in some cases, say doctors

This strain causes a milder infection but could lead to long-lasting symptoms

By SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Wed 17 Aug 2022, 8:56 AM

Last updated: Wed 17 Aug 2022, 9:57 PM

The threat of Covid 19 has not passed yet. UAE doctors say there are chances of the current Omicron variant leading to long covid.

“Omicron infection generally causes less severe disease than infections from earlier variants, but in some cases, it could lead to long Covid. Data suggests that Omicron can re-infect individuals, even if they have recently recovered from Covid 19,” said Dr Abdalkarim Nassar, specialist pulmonologist, Burjeel Specialty Hospital, Sharjah.

But doctors have affirmed that the infection with the current variant is very mild and hospitalisation is rare. “Rarely the patient needs to be hospitalised unless they have comorbidity diseases that can develop fever associated with cough, dyspnea (shortness of breath), and chest infiltrates. The onset of dyspnea is an indication to seek immediate medical intervention,” said Dr Fiaz Ahmed, head of infection control at Thumbay University Hospital, Ajman.

“Elderly and patients with chronic diseases, immunocompromised must see a doctor as some of the patients may need hospitalisation,” said Dr Nassar.

However, healthcare specialists say that infected with the Omicron variant can present symptoms similar to previous variants and the presentation of illness ranges from asymptomatic infections to mild symptoms.

The symptoms of the present strain of Omicron are:

- Sore throat

- Hoarse voice

- Cough

- Fatigue

- Nasal congestion

- Runny nose

- Headache

- Muscle aches

- Sneezing

- Myalgia

- Sometimes diarrhoea

Dr Ahmed explained the difference between the present variants. “Omicron B.1.1.529 variant and the subsequent Omicron lineages BA.2, followed by BA.2.12.1 had the advantage of greater replications, triggering infection in individuals with vaccine-induced immunity,”

Medical practitioners believe that, in some cases, patients get better on their own. “However, if a person has any symptoms, it is better to consult a doctor and seek his advice as the symptoms may not necessarily be related to Covid-19,”

Doctors have advised residents to get a PCR test done immediately if anyone has been in contact with an infected person or has any symptoms. “You should get tested if you have symptoms, even if you are fully vaccinated. Vaccines are an essential measure in protecting people from Covid 19,” said Dr Nassar.

They have also advised residents to get vaccinated on time, including the booster shot, wear a mask in public and follow essential health and hygiene practices to prevent Covid 19.


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