Odisha rushes epidemiology team to Deogarh to observe status of Delta Plus variant patient

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Bhubaneswar, Jun 26 (PTI) A day after detection of a Delta Plus variant case coming to the fore in the state, the Odisha government Saturday rushed an epidemiology team to Deogarh district which reported the first such case, official sources said.

The patient who has been found carrying the Delta Plus variant of the SARS-CoV-2, was stable and has no such health complaints. The epidemiology team will further examine his health condition after six weeks of his illness, said Director of Health Service (DHS) Dr Bijay Mohapatra.

He said the state government had undertaken contact tracing of the infected person and the health condition of all of them will now be examined again. The team will also verify the vaccination status of the people who have come in contact with the patient.

The DHS said that the Delta Plus variant infected person from Deogarh had taken the first dose of the jab on March 30. He was infected in April, maybe after coming in contact with another Covid patient. He was asymptomatic due to the effect of vaccination. His entire genome has been sequenced and he has fully recovered, he said.

'The case of Deogarh proves that vaccines are effective against the Delta Plus variant, which is also called as a variant of concern,' Dr Mohapatra said, adding the epidemiology team will ascertain the impact of the new variant on the patient and his contact persons.

Meanwhile, the Director of Institute of Life Science, Bhubaneswar, Dr Ajay Parida said there is no point in panicking over detection of the Delta Plus variant in Deogarh district in Odisha.

'We have found only one Delta Plus variant case in Odisha so far. The concerned person of Deogarh district was infected in April. It has been found during genome sequencing conducted on over 3,000 samples collected from four states like Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar. However, we have not found any other case of this variant, so far,' Dr Parida said.

Dispelling the fear of the Delta Plus variant among the people, Dr Parida said: 'Had it (delta plus) been so dangerous, we could have found more such cases. But since April, no other sample has tested positive for the new variant.' As not a single case has been detected in the last two months, it indicates that the new strain has not spread fast as predicted, Dr Parida said. 'If it was highly contagious, then we must have found a number of variants of the same strain from April to till date. So, we should not unnecessarily panic about the new strain,' he said.

The ILS director said the Delta variant was found in plenty during the second wave of the pandemic. But, now it has been muted and named as Delta Plus. The Delta Plus variant is as dangerous as the Delta variant, he opined.

Meanwhile, what has come as a matter of concern for the health experts in the state is that the test positivity rate (TPR) in some districts remained around 10 per cent. The state government had earlier relaxed lockdown norms keeping in view the TPR rate, said Dr Mohapatra. The state government will further review lockdown restrictions at a high-level meeting on June 30. PTI AAM RG RG

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