With the UK recording its first two cases of the new variant of the coronavirus in Nottingham and Essex, it is important to know what signs to look out for. The doctor who first detected the Omicron variant in South Africa, said the patients she had seen so far had ‘extremely mild symptoms’.
‘Very, Very, Mild Symptoms’
Dr Angelique Coetzee told the BBC News that she had first noticed the symptoms in a young, male patient who is about 30 years old. She said this patient, whom she knew to be very healthy, came to her practice in Pretoria with extreme tiredness, body aches and pains as well as a headache.
He also reported experiencing a ‘scratchy’, rather than sore throat with no cough or loss of taste or smell - common symptoms of the virus.
Because it’s unusual for this person to present with these symptoms, I decided to test. The rapid testing was positive. I then tested the rest of his family, and they were all positive and every one of them had very, very, mild symptoms.
Dr Coetzee spotted these symptoms in other patients, including a six-year-old child with a high pulse rate. According to Dr. Coetzee who also chairs South Africa’s Medical Association:
Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before.
Symptoms Could Change
She prompted the country’s vaccines committee, of which she is a member, about the new symptoms her patients were exhibiting; symptoms different from those presented by the delta variant which has been the most prevalent form of Covid-19 globally.
The committee then announced its resultant discovery of the omicron variant a few days later. While noting that the symptoms of the first omicron cases were mild, this could change along the way. Dr. Coetzee said:
What we are seeing clinically in South Africa, and remember that I’m at the epicenter, that’s where I’m practising, is extremely mild…We haven’t admitted anyone [to hospital]. I spoke to other colleagues of mine: The same picture.