New worry? Doctors find 35 cases of Covid ‘reinfection’ in Bengaluru
It is rare, but could occur due to inadequate immune response, waning immunity, or mutant strain of the virus
BENGALURU: Seven hospitals in Bengaluru have reported cases of “possible reinfection”, which raise questions for health workers battling the pandemic.
Authorities at seven of 28 government and private hospitals in Bengaluru said that so far, they have seen 35 cases of possible reinfection. Seventeen hospitals said either they had not seen such cases or do not have data on it. Four hospitals were not reachable.
Jayanagar General Hospital came across 10 people who may have been reinfected, with the second infection being more severe, and patients becoming oxygen-dependent. They were transferred to Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD).
“We got seven patients who contracted Covid-19 again. They developed new symptoms with radiological worsening, were more severe and were treated on the same lines. They responded well to treatment. However, such cases need genome sequencing to confirm it was reinfection and not a prolonged infection,” said Dr Sachin D, consultant of interventional pulmonology at Manipal Hospitals.
He cited a recent British study that suggested reinfection within six months is very rare due to protective immunity.
Reinfection is being reported frequently and could be either due to inadequate immune response (the first time), waning immunity, or mutant strain infection, Dr Sachin said.RGICD detected six instances of possible reinfection. The patients were asymptomatic the first time.
They had severe symptoms like breathlessness, cough, fever, lung involvement and muscle pain, Dr C Nagaraj, RGICD director, told TNIE.
“The samples were sent for genomic study and viral culture to the National Institute of Virology (Pune), to identify if the second case of positivity was the same strain,” Dr Nagaraj said.While Fortis Hospital saw one case of possible reinfection – the first in the city – Ramaiah Memorial Hospital came across three health workers who contracted Covid-19 twice.
However, they were asymptomatic the second time. Pristine Hospital and Research Centre found three cases, while Victoria Hospital saw five patients who got readmitted 10-15 days after discharge.