As the national capital continues to battle the third and the deadliest surge of the Covid-19 pandemic, another threat related to the coronavirus has started to loom large over its horizon — the danger of reinfection of the viral disease.
The hospitals across the city have begun to report probable cases of reinfection of the disease. The instances may be relatively less or insignificant in numbers, but are enough to ring alarms.
Two days ago Sir Ganga Ram Hospital reported two cases that were claimed as reinfection of the Covid-19. The cases included a man with comorbidity and a healthcare staff of the hospital itself. The hospital claimed that the man was found to be reinfected in mere 25 days of testing negative, while the staff was found reinfected within two months of her recovery from the previous episode.
The Indraprastha Apollo Hospital has also seen similar cases lately. The hospital told IANS that at least five cases had been reported, which indicated probable reinfection of the Covid-19 disease.
Dr. Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Apollo informed that one of his patients was readmitted to the facility as he tested positive again after two and half months of recovery from the first episode.
“The patient was comorbid. He was treated for 10 days during the first instance of the infection and was discharged. However, two and half months later, he complained of the onset of Covid induced symptoms and when tested, found positive,” he said.
Meanwhile, Aakash healthcare informed IANS that it had received two definite reinfection cases recently, where one of the patients tested positive two months after recovering from the previous episode.
“Ten days ago, the patent was admitted with high grade fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. He had obesity as an underlying condition. He received eight days of treatment before the discharge,” informed Dr. Akshay Budhraja, Consultant, Department of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at Aakash.
“During our investigation, the patients revealed that he had tested positive in early September when his whole family had contracted the virus. Since the severity of the disease was mild in nature, he opted for home isolation and tested negative after 21 days. However, he started having breathing issues and fever in late October and when he underwent the RT-PCR test, the result came positive,” he added.
While Dr. Budhraja said that the antibody test on the patient was not followed, he claimed that the findings of investigations such as CT scan and blood test implied that he did not have the relapse but a confirmed re-infection.
Dr. Sandeep Nayar, Sr. Director and Head, Centre for Chest and Respiratory Disease, BLK Super Speciality Hospital also told IANS that his hospital has been receiving patients who have probable indicators of having reinfection of the disease. “I have just seen a patient today who again tested positive for Covid-19 after recovery with a complaint of mild symptoms,” he added.
However, Dr. Chatterjee asserted that more follow up is needed to confirm the reported cases’ categorization into reinfection as it may trigger panic among the public.
“Despite all the indicators suggesting the cases as reinfection of the viral disease, we need to be more careful before labelling them as the same as it could create panic among the public. To ascertain whether the cases are reinfection, reactivation or relapse of the disease would require a thorough study and a proper follow up,” he cautioned.