A doctor at Rohtak’s PGIMS has tested positive for Covid-19 a second time in four months, in what is being suspected as a possible first case of reinfection in Haryana.
The resident doctor who is pursuing her post-graduation degree in anaesthesia had first tested positive for the infection on July 11. At that time, the doctor showed mild symptoms of diarrhoea and tested negative within three days. On October 29, the doctor went for a test again after she felt occurrence of moderate symptoms including fever, sore throat and body aches. Her test returned positive. Her husband, who is also a resident doctor at the PGIMS, has also tested positive.
Both the doctors are currently in isolation ward of the hospital.
Dr Dhruv Chaudhry, Haryana’s nodal officer for Covid-19, told the Indian Express that it couldn’t be definitely said whether it was a case of reinfection. “Patient is mildly symptomatic now. To be definitive that it is a reinfection, you need a genetic study. Short of genetic study, it would be very very difficult to say that it is a reinfection. Perception may be there, suggestion may be there, but to say definitely in a scientific manner, it will be difficult,” he said.
Explaining why the reinfection should not be a source of spreading panic among the people, especially health workers, Dr Dhruv added, “We need to be careful in using the term reinfection. We go for a genetic study today and lets say we find it is X-1 strain… the problem is that we don’t have a backup strain with which we can match it and say its an X-1… Viruses are known for reactivation”.
Elaborating on the issue of reinfection, Dr. Dhruv said there had been four such cases in Mumbai. “They have done a genetic material study. But, we don’t have the next generation sequencer or DNA sequencer. We have asked the government and tenders have been floated. We may have the facility within three months at the earliest”.
The senior doctor reiterated that “I will simply say that yes this person has been tested positive for Covid-19 again” and on paper “it looks like a reinfection”, but only genetic studies can reveal if it is the same strain or different one.
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