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Winter viral infections raise Covid fears in Bengaluru
A surge in viral infections in the city has created a never-before fear as Covid-19 threats lurks and a clear picture emerges only after a patient undergoes multiple tests
Bengaluru: A surge in viral infections in the city has created a never-before fear as Covid-19 threats lurks and a clear picture emerges only after a patient undergoes multiple tests.
Recently, a patient with a fever approached Apollo Specialty Hospitals, Jayanagar. After three Covid tests in a span of four days, including one rapid antigen and two RT-PCR, he underwent a CT-scan which did not point to coronavirus. However, one of the symptoms was indicative of a viral infection or typhoid. The patient was treated for typhoid and he got better. The doctors at Apollo say that several patients are approaching them with complaints of fever and testing negative for Covid. Within three days the fever subsides with paracetamol.
Dr Ravindra M Mehta, Senior Consultant & HOD - Pulmonology & Interventional Pulmonology, Apollo Specialty Hospitals, attributes the jump in viral cases to winter season.
"Before Covid-19, there have been many other viruses such as influenza, H1N1, Rota and a bunch of others. Though viral cases see a surge as temperatures dip in winter, the prevailing Covid-19 is sending the chill down the spine of people. If a patient tests negative for Covid-19, then a clinical call has to be taken to assess the condition which is easier, often because of the isolation requirements of Covid-19 and the lack of treatment options," Mehta explains.
He says given the season for viruses the clinical picture does get confusing and the Covid infection is ruled out only after tests. However, there have been cases where Covid-19 gets aggravated and leads to patients having typhoid. Mehta warns with more viruses around, for instance, even the dengue has grown with the mosquito season and other typical conditions like malaria will also come at this time.
"The tests for typhoid are of two types: acute rapid test or the blood culture. We have seen that there is a false positive rapid test for typhoid which often comes with Covid-19 and may or not indicate typhoid. But we have seen this co-existence in the original days of Covid-19 when we were investigating all sorts of fever. However, whether typhoid directly has a high incidence with COVID-19 is not known. So, tests are coming positive on the acute rapid test, but they may or may not indicate typhoid fever. Treatment has to be given on clinical fronts," he says.
In the past several months Covid infection symptoms have grown manifold, some of which are stroke, kawasaki disease and purple toe rashes. "Symptoms like Kawasaki and other multi-system conditions are showing up because Covid-19 affects the vascular system. So when blood vessels are affected wherever they supply, those organs can get affected and if it goes to the brain, it causes stroke, if it goes to the heart, it causes Myocarditis, if it goes to the periphery, it is called chilblains and so on. That is part of the Covid pathophysiology, we have been seeing these all through the COVID-19 season and it is something we have both learnt to look for, treat and tackle. Yes, it does complicate the picture, but that has been the complicated picture of COVID-19, anyway," Mehta says.