July 23, 2024 | 5:30


Symptoms of Covid FLiRT


Jesus Carames

May 24, 2024 | 9:43 a.m.

The appearance of the new KP.2 strain, called FLiRT, has generated alarm both in the population and among health professionals. Although COVID-19 has become flu-like and severe cases are almost non-existent, this new variant of SARS-CoV-2 has raised concern.

A new threat

In recent weeks, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported a new set of variants detected in wastewater surveillance. FLiRT threatens to cause a new wave of COVID-19 infections, which were already under control after the increase in cases last December. This variant has represented 24.9% of cases in the United States between April 14 and 27, becoming the dominant strain, surpassing JN.1, which is at 22%.

Historic context

Since its appearance at the end of 2019 in Wuhan (China), SARS-CoV-2 has been a constant in the lives of millions of people around the world. In May 2023, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) declared that COVID-19 was no longer considered an international public health emergency, although the virus continued to circulate and posed a potential and severe risk to the public. health.

Current incidence in Spain

The Carlos III Health Institute, in its latest report on sentinel surveillance of acute respiratory infection in primary care and hospitals, highlights an incidence of 27.8 cases per 100.000 inhabitants of COVID-19 in primary care, and a hospitalization rate of 1.86 cases per 100.000 inhabitants. Since the beginning of the season, hospitalized cases have presented 29.5% pneumonia, 4.1% admission to the ICU and 8.8% fatality.

Prevalence of variants

The BA.2.86 variant has been identified in a greater proportion in cases of acute respiratory infections in primary care (59.62%) and in hospitals (60.47%), with a predominance of 81.49% and 80.98% respectively, since the beginning of the season corresponding to the circulation of lineages and sublineages JN.1.

Symptoms of the FLiRT variant

Symptoms of the FLiRT variant are similar to other variants and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Congestion and runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle pain and headache
  • Chills
  • Respiratory problems
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • 'Brain fog' (feeling less awake or aware)
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms

Precautionary measures

Despite the decrease in severe cases, it is essential to maintain recommended preventive measures, such as the use of masks in closed and crowded places, hand hygiene and vaccination, especially for vulnerable people and those with pre-existing conditions.

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