By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Doctors across several countries, mainly the US, are taking to social media to warn colleagues about an increase in patients coming in with predominant nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

They claim that there is emerging anecdotal evidence that the new sub-variants are attacking the gut, rather than the nasopharyngeal area, and are advocating that cases with these symptoms be genome-sequenced to check for any new variant.

Dr Risa Hosino, Board-Certified Paediatrician in Public Health and vaccine expert from the US, took to Twitter and said, “Please test for Covid if you are having gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn or abdominal pain. I am seeing a huge increase in these symptoms (sometimes without any upper respiratory symptoms).”

Meanwhile, Chuck Wurster, Emergency Physician from Alberta tweeted, “Seeing a lot more patients coming in with predominant nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. A lot. There is emerging anecdotal evidence from other places that the new sub-variants cause more of these kinds of symptoms. Would not be surprised if this surge is being driven by Covid.”

However, in India, doctors claim that though there is a need to watch out for any kind of change in clinical symptoms, as of now are no such changes are reported, and these gut-related symptoms were reported during the Delta and Omicron waves too.

Speaking to TNIE, Dr Srikanta JT, paediatric pulmonologist, Apollo Hospitals, said, “We have seen these in both the waves and the higher number of cases during Omicron gave us a clue that Covid-19 doesn’t really cause only respiratory issues, but can also cause non-respiratory symptoms.”

Meanwhile, the Technical Advisory Committee, at its recent meeting, notified doctors to look out for any change in clinical symptoms, and Victoria Hosptial has been selected as one of the hosptials where clinical surveillance will be conducted and a report submitted to the government.

Dr Giridhara Babu R, the public health expert and epidemiologist, said, “It is important for doctors to look for any new symptoms. Gut-related symptoms were there during earlier waves too in the state. Doctors will be the first to note a change in symptoms being reported, so TAC has recommended clinical surveillance.”

So far, as many as 25 symptoms have been reported by people who have been infected with Omicron and Delta waves.

These include high fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, fatigue, muscle or body ache, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat or hoarse voice, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea, continuous cough, back pain, loss of appetite, delerium, heartburn, bloating, sleep paralysis, skin rash, night sweats, Covid tongue, Covid toes or fingers, chest pain and abdominal pain. 

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