Local News

Bug causing Covid-19-like symptoms identified

Harare City’s Health Director, Dr. Prosper Chonzi, has issued a reassuring statement to the public in response to growing concerns about a potential resurgence of coronavirus infections in Harare.

This announcement follows a significant rise in cases of influenza, with over 1,300 confirmed infections reported during the current winter season.

Also Read: New Covid-19 Variant Hits South Africa

The majority of these cases have been concentrated in high-density suburbs, notably including Mbare, Glen View, Budiriro, Tafara, and Glen Norah.

In an interview with ZBC News on July 1st, Dr. Chonzi clarified that despite flu symptoms resembling those of COVID-19, testing has confirmed cases of Influenza A. He said:

We are indeed seeing several flue cases or flue-like cases throughout the country, particularly in Harare.

It’s not uncommon though that as you transition from the warm season into the cold season like we are doing right now you get an increase in flu-like symptoms.

There will be circulation of many viruses and some of those viruses are the ones that cause the flu.

We have isolated Influenza A type virus in most of the cases that we are seeing right now. Of course, the symptoms are COVID-19-like symptoms because most of us have experienced it before.

We have been testing, doing PCR testing to confirm whether or not we are dealing with the same strain of COVID-19, but what we are seeing is on the contrary, it still appears like what is circulating is the influenza virus.

We encourage people to still practice what we were teaching them the last time we were experiencing COVID-19.

Good personal hygiene keep warm, and seek medication early if you are unwell so that we avoid complications.

People have a role to play in terms of personal health, but as it is we have not confirmed that this is COVID-19 as we experienced it from 2019 to 2022.

Chonzi warned that young children (that is those under the age of 5), the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are most susceptible to severe flu complications. He said:

Influenza normally affects children, so those that are under five or under four years are mostly affected. Those who have comorbidities and the elderly are also severely affected.

If you are fit if you exercise regularly and if your immunity is okay you may have symptoms, but they are not as severe as the ones that you are seeing right now.

So, many individuals who are succumbing or experiencing severe illness likely have other underlying health conditions or may not be as resilient as they should be.

Children, on the other hand, because their immune systems are still developing, may also suffer from severe disease.

Similarly, the elderly and those who are immunocompromised are prone to experiencing severe illness as well.

The flu, or influenza, is a viral illness that impacts the respiratory system. Influenza is caused by influenza viruses and generally presents with symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, tiredness, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

Influenza can vary from a mild to a severe disease and can result in complications.

Preventing influenza involves practising good hand hygiene, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and staying home from work or school when experiencing flu-like symptoms to prevent spreading the virus to others.

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