Pink eyes are symptoms of a possible new coronavirus variant in San Diego

new coronavirus test
Coronavirus testing at a San Diego County lab. (Matt Hoffman/KPBS)

Conjunctivitis may be a sign of COVID-19.

San Diego County public health experts say XBB.1.16 is a new variant of the Omicron subspecies that has been reported to be associated with itchy and watery eyes and could soon become a local novel coronavirus infection. He said it could account for a larger share of those infected.

This new variant, informally called “Arcturus,” has become prevalent as the level of COVID-19 has increased. generally fell across the county so far this year. In the week ending April 22, the county had 694 cases of the variant strain, 98 hospitalizations and four deaths from the disease, according to the latest public health data.

XBB.1.16 has held only a fraction of the total proportion of COVID-19 infections since epidemiologists first detected it in local sewage in March. A similar strain, called XBB.1.5, has accounted for the majority of cases in the county in the past two months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

County spokesman Gig Connaughton said the new variant has been appearing in other countries for months. The World Health Organization calls it “variation of interestwas broadcast on April 17th.

“The San Diego County Public Health Department can’t predict what will happen to the XBB.1.16 lineage here,” he said, adding, “But several other variants have previously crossed from the East Coast to California. moved and eventually increased in San Diego County wastewater.”

California healthcare workers there is no need Connaughton said the eyelids, also known as conjunctivitis, should be reported to the government. That means it can be difficult to track how prevalent this variant occurs alongside reports of itchy or watery eyes.

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