Thursday 30 November 2023

First case of Omicron variant confirmed in Costa Rica

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29 November 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – The Costa Rican Institute for Research and Teaching in Nutrition and Health – nstituto Costarricense de Investigación y Enseñanza en Nutrición y Salud (INCIENSA) – confirmed today, Monday, December 20, the detection of the first case of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in Costa Rica.

This is a minor, 8-year-old, Costa Rican, male, who presented fever, body aches and general malaise, and is currently stable and is in isolation in his house in the province of San José. His sample was taken at a private hospital and sent for genomic surveillance.

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“The minor is a contact of positive cases in the family. We are working on the epidemiological investigation of the case and his contacts,” reported the Ministry of Health, adding that preliminarily, the family visited the United States in the first week in December.

The sample entered INCIENSA on December 14, was screened on December 15, and the genomic sequence was available on December 19.

The Ministry of Health indicates that this finding does not imply changes in the current measures and calls on the population to redouble compliance with self-care protocols:

  • Ventilated spaces
  • Correct use of the mask
  • Hand washing
  • Complete vaccination schedules against COVID- 19
  • And those 65 and over to take advantage of the third doses available for the age group

The CDC – The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States – expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.

What We Know about Omicron according to the CDC:

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  • The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown.
  • More data are needed to know if Omicron infections, and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.
  • Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant.
  • Scientists are working to determine how well existing treatments for COVID-19 work. Based on the changed genetic make-up of Omicron, some treatments are likely to remain effective while others may be less effective.

If symptoms appear within the quarantine window, isolate immediately and contact a healthcare provider, the CDC’s guidance states. Those who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine, according to the CDC, but they should get tested anywhere from five to seven days following their exposure regardless of symptoms.


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