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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

"Pink Eye" Is Common Symptom Of New COVID-19 Variant

There’s a new variant of the coronavirus that infectious disease experts and public health officials are keeping a close eye on, Laura Ramirez-Feldman reported for Yahoo News.

Photo Insert: Some doctors have said Arcturus seems to be causing conjunctivitis, often called pink eye, in children and adolescents.

XBB.1.16, also known as Arcturus, is an Omicron subvariant that appears to be more transmissible and has fueled a recent surge of COVID-19 cases in India. While the variant is circulating at low levels in the US, health officials are monitoring it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned about XBB.1.16 last month and labeled it a “variant of monitoring,” a designation that isn’t as serious as a “variant of interest.”

However, that status could change if the variant shows signs of increased transmissibility or virulence, or is able to evade antibodies, the WHO noted.

According to anecdotal reports coming from India and other parts of the world, including the US, XBB.1.16 may cause a new COVID-19 symptom not seen with previous coronavirus strains.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

Some doctors have said the new variant seems to be causing conjunctivitis, often called pink eye, in children and adolescents. XBB.1.16 has now been detected in at least 29 countries, including the U.S. and it is expanding its reach fairly quickly.

In late February, XBB.1.16 accounted for only 0.21% of all COVID-19 cases worldwide. A month later, that had increased to 3.96%, according to the WHO’s latest figures.

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