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First XBB goes to PH. 1.5 cases of exposure unknown: DOH

A local case of XBB.1.5 infection has been identified as the first incidence in the nation, a health official said on Tuesday.

“This XBB.1.5 case is a Filipino, local detection siya, no histories of any kind of travel, unknown ‘yung kanyang exposure,” said Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire in a press conference. “There were no histories of any kind of travel, the exposure is unknown.”

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center sequenced 1,078 samples from January 28 to February 3, and the DOH announced the first case of XBB.1.5 and three cases of CH.1.1.

Omicron’s XBB.1.5 subvariant results from a mutation in the BA.2.

“Sintomas na mild, nagkalagnat, sumakit ang mga kasu-kasuan, nagkaroon lang siya ng konting mga” (The case only had few mild symptoms and had fever and joint pains). However, I’ve already recovered right now,” Vergeire stated.

She mentioned that the sample was taken on January 9 of last year.

So, if we count, it’s 14 days on 23, we were able to identify all of his contacts, and they were all asymptomatic. Now, she continued, “the stage where they need to quarantine to prevent the transmission of the disease is over.”

Vergeire stated that the World Health Organization has previously designated the CH.1.1 subvariant as a variant under monitoring since it carries mutations comparable to those found in Delta, BA.4, and BA.5.

In the upcoming weeks, “they are anticipating or forecasting that it will spread to” the United Kingdom, she said.

However, because other nations haven’t yet reported on it, researchers haven’t yet seen its potential to cause more severe infections.

“Here in the country, we’re trying to closely monitor if there is an increase in the number of severe and critical cases, and as of right now, our cases are at a plateau for that kind of situation. Every time, it’s less than 10% in all of our hospitals,” Vergeire added.

The country has protections and improved surveillance to track new varieties that may enter the country, she emphasized, and the severe and serious cases are manageable.

Only 311 of the 2,243 intensive care unit (ICU) beds were being used as of Feb. 12, according to the DOH, whereas 3,402 of the 17,344 non-ICU beds were being used, or 19.6 percent.

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