Medics Believe They Have Detected COVID-19 Reinfection In 40 Year-Old

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The first possible case of COVID-19 reinfection in the country has been reported by medics in a new paper. In an article published in the Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), medics report a female healthcare worker contracted the virus seven months after initial infection.

Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory at University College Dublin, Dr Cillian de Gascun is a co-author to the paper. The medics involved state that “to our knowledge, this is the first report of re-infection from Ireland”.

According to the medics, the worker, 40, had shown signs of fever, headache, sore throat, shortness of breath and dysgeusia when diagnosed with COVID last year. “While never hospitalised, she was unfit for work for four weeks due to significant headaches and persistent fatigue lasting four months,” it states. The paper explains that two household contacts of the woman had also developed COVID-19 at that time.

The woman’s cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue and myalgia presented themselves again last November, when she was diagnosed again. This time, medics used whole genome sequencing to diagnose the woman as infected with COVID-19.

However, medics state that her symptoms were much milder than first infection, with a faster recovery time. The worker was subsequently kept off work for a two-week period of isolation, reportedly using a low dose inhaler to combat a post-infection wheeze.

Genomic Evidence of SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection in Ireland” also included an input from the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre and from Dr Sinéad O’Donnell of the Department of Clinical Microbiology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

According to its authors, the consequences of COVID-19 reinfection “are significant in healthcare workers due to the impact on service delivery and cross infection in other health care workers and patients. The medics state that “the incidence of Covid-19 reinfection is not well characterised” and “infection control precautions may still be required in healthcare facilities while SARS-CoV-2 remains in circulation”.

Within the paper, medics state that efficiency rates in vaccines range from 70% to 95% in clinical trials. Although, there has yet to be a conclusive evaluation of the effectiveness in populations and the durability of immunity from infection. HSE’s Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry has said the level of uptake and enthusiasm from the public around vaccination is the envy of Europe. He said: “The uptake has been astonishing. Over 80 years of age, 90% of eligible people have taken it”.

Medics conclude in the paper that “further study into the level and duration of immunity conferred by both infection with and vaccination against SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19) is required to inform future vaccination campaigns and infection prevention and control policy”.