Telangana

Always better to test if COVID symptoms surface, says IIPH director

If there are no symptoms but a person is exposed to another infected individual, it is better to test on Day 5. File photo

If there are no symptoms but a person is exposed to another infected individual, it is better to test on Day 5. File photo | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

It is always better to get tested as soon as one notices COVID symptoms since the Omicron variant is “transmitted faster and the duration of infection is shorter”.

And, if there are no symptoms but a person is exposed to another infected individual, it is better to test on Day 5 but quarantine at home to prevent the spread of infection, suggests Public Health Foundation of India’s (PHFI) Institute of Public Health - Hyderabad (IIP-H) chapter president G.V.S. Murthy.

“It is better to get an RT-PCR test at least five days after exposure before going back to active work. However, if a person has been fully vaccinated and does not show any symptoms, the person does not need to be isolated at all and can continue routine work. Such individuals should also get tested at least five days after the exposure to an infected individual,” he explained in an exclusive interaction in view of surge in cases.

An infected person should isolate for five days and wear a proper mask at home too. If there is no fever for one full day, then isolation can end after that. But, it is recommended that the person isolate for 10 days and take all precautions after exposure. These include restricted travel outside the home and use of a proper fitting mask even inside the home, said the director.

Omicron related infections are very similar to previous variants mimicking common cold or flu. Two frequent standalone symptoms observed are nausea and loss of appetite. Mild headache, fever, and running nose have also been common.

While testing protocol is the same as with the earlier variants, rapid tests have been found to have low detection rates in asymptomatic persons. RT-PCR is more sensitive in detection of Omicron compared to rapid tests.

The director pointed out that even where massive outbreaks of Omicron variants have been reported, deaths have been very low compared to the previous variants, especially the Delta variant which caused havoc in India. 

“Deaths that have been reported have been mostly in unvaccinated people. This shows the benefit of being vaccinated, even in the case of Omicron. Therefore, the moral is promote vaccination to prevent serious illness and death and other COVID-appropriate behaviour like masks and population dispersion to prevent infection. This ‘jugalbandi’ is the key to success, adds Dr. Murthy.


Our code of editorial values

  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 7:39:31 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/always-better-to-test-if-covid-symptoms-surface-says-iiph-director/article65561518.ece