The coronavirus may be “reactivating” in people who are cured and discharged from the covid-19 illness. According to Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly 51 patients marked as having been cured in South Korea have tested positive again, the CDC said in a briefing on Monday.
Interestingly, rather than being infected again, the virus may have been reactivated in these people, given they tested positive again shortly after being released from quarantine, said Jeong Eun-Kyeong, director-general of the Korean CDC. The chances that they got infected again is low given the short duration after discharge and negligible contacts.
“While we are putting more weight on reactivation as the possible cause, we are conducting a comprehensive study on this,” Jeong said. “There have been many cases when a patient during treatment will test negative one day and positive another.”
Definition of fully recovered patient of covid-19
A definition applied world-wide based on WHO recommendation, a patient is considered fully recovered when two tests conducted with a 24-hour interval comes out to be negative.
The Korean CDC will conduct an epidemiological probe into the cases, Jeong said. All the cases where coronavirus is deemed to be reactivated will be deeply studies. Being a new virus there are multiple studies being conducted to look into reinfection, past studies have shown that people generally do develop immunity for other viruses when fully recovered at least for the short-run.
Re-infection or re-activation?
On Feb 21, South Korea reported the country’s first coronavirus (COVID-19) death as the number of people infected with the disease continued to grow since the first reported case a month ago. The deceased was a 63-year-old man from Cheongdo county, bordering the city of Daegu, who died from pneumonia. Evidence of the virus was present in the man’s body.
The cases of a patient diagnosed with the virus again after fully recovering are not being reported only from South Korea, concerns over re-infection in cured patients are also mounting in China, where the virus first surfaced in December last year after reports stated that a few had tested positive and even passed away after purportedly recovering and being released from the hospital.
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There’s a need for further study to determine why the resurgence of the disease in such individuals was seen, but some believe that the issue can also be due to discrepancies and inaccuracies in test results.
As on Wednesday, South Korea had 10,384 virus cases, with 6,776 discharged from hospital, as per data collated by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.
Epidemiologists from all over the globe are working round the clock to study the novel coronavirus and the disease caused by it (Covid-19) in detail. The virus’s aggressive spread has further thrown light on another alarming phenomenon where patients despite getting infected, display atypical symptoms of the illness.