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Business News/ News / Covid subvariant JN.1 in Kerala: From symptoms to precautions; here's all you need to know
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Covid subvariant JN.1 in Kerala: From symptoms to precautions; here's all you need to know

The JN.1 variant of COVID is considered to be the Omicron subvariant BA.2.86 or Pirola, which has been spreading in several countries. The new Covid sub-variant JN.1 identified in Kerala has raised concerns.

Covid sub-variant JN.1 has been identified in a woman in Kerala which has raised concerns and has emphasized the need for an alert.Premium
Covid sub-variant JN.1 has been identified in a woman in Kerala which has raised concerns and has emphasized the need for an alert.

A new Covid sub-variant JN.1 has been identified in a woman in Kerala, raising concerns and emphasizing the need for alertness. The Union Ministry of Health on 16 December initiated preparedness measures after the case was identified in Kerala. A mock drill is underway in health facilities across states, evaluating public health and hospital readiness. This exercise, overseen by district collectors, commenced on December 13 and is scheduled for completion by December 18, 2023.

JN.1 Covid sub-variant

The JN.1 variant of COVID is considered to be the Omicron subvariant BA.2.86 or Pirola. It was first detected in the United States in September 2023. As per a Reuters report, on 15 December, China detected seven infections of the particular subvariant.

Recently, the descendants of Pirola have been spreading in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands. So far, it has been detected in 38 countries, including India, and is believed to be responsible for the recent hike in hospitalisation in a few nations.

Also Read: Singapore government implements preventive norms for travellers amid Covid scare

According to Rajeev Jayadevan, the National Indian Medical Association Covid Task Force's co-chairman, the JN.1 variant is capable of spreading faster and evading immunity. "JN.1 is a severely immune-evasive and fast-spreading variant, markedly different from XBB and all other prior versions of this virus. This enables it to infect people who had previous Covid infections and also people who were vaccinated," he said as reported by ANI.

JN.1 Covid sub-variant in India

In Kerala, the case was detected in an RT-PCR positive sample from Karakulam in Thiruvananthapuram district of the southern state on December 8, Dr Rajiv Bahl, Director General of the ICMR said. The sample had tested RT-PCR positive on November 18, he added. The 79-year-old woman had mild symptoms of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) and has since recovered from Covid. The Union ministry is in regular touch with the Kerala health department and monitoring various entry points to the state.

Symptoms of JN.1 Covid sub-variant

Senior consultant in Chest Medicine at Delhi's Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr Ujjwal Prakash has explained that JN.1, similar to other variants and sub-variants observed globally, is a mild variant causing upper respiratory symptoms, as reported by ANI.

The reported symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, headache, and, in some cases, mild gastrointestinal symptoms. Apart from this, the doctor also emphasized that most patients experience these mild upper respiratory symptoms, which typically improve within four to five days.

"The first way going forward is testing this new variant of COVID if possible, and then we have to see whether they have COVID or any other viral infection. Symptoms are almost very common with other viral infections. They may be slightly more severe. Some patients may have some symptoms more severe than others, but more or less the infection is just like any other viral infection," Dr Prakash said.

Also Read: What is China's 'Walking Pneumonia' that has put India on alert? Check symptoms, prevention and more

Precautions  

Dr Prakash has advised that individuals with viral infection symptoms should promptly cover themselves, wear masks to minimize the risk of spreading the infection, and undergo testing early. “If symptoms persist, individuals are encouraged to isolate themselves from the general public," the doctor added. The the Karnataka government has decided to conduct mock drills in the hospitals to check preparedness in the event the pandemic recurs in the state. The government has also convened the Technical Advisory Committee on COVID-19 on Tuesday. Officials have also been instructed to conduct mock drills in all the hospitals to check how many beds including ICU beds, oxygen availability and medicines, Karnataka Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters. In Tamil Nadu, the state government has taken all precautions to tackle a fresh Covid outbreak, if any, in the wake of the recent uptick of infections in neighbouring Kerala and in Singapore, Health Minister Ma Subramanian said on Saturday.

Covid cases in India

On Saturday, India recorded a single-day rise of 339 new COVID-19 infections. The number of cases reported was higher than the 312 cases reported on Friday. As per the Health Ministry, the active caseload rose to 1,492. The country's Covid case tally currently stands at 4,50,04,481 (4.50 crore). 

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)

 

 

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Published: 17 Dec 2023, 09:52 AM IST
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