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WHO Flags Zimbabwean Influenza Outbreak

WHO Flags Zimbabwean Influenza Outbreak

World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative Alexio Gasasira says there is a possibility of a new variant circulating in Zimbabwe following an unexplained influenza outbreak in Bulawayo.

Health authorities in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city admitted that they had noted an unusual flu outbreak but played down growing fears that it was the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.

Addressing journalists drawn from South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe on Tuesday during a virtual media cafè on COVID-19 and HIV, Gasasira said:

I cannot rule out the flu we are seeing here may be a new variant. Let us not speculate, so we are very much encouraged by efforts to build capacity in genomic sequencing and the training of scientists.

We must encourage our scientists to continue studying because if we do not have evidence, we are moving blind.

If we cannot sequence more samples, we may have other new variants. It is very possible that we may have a Zimbabwean variant because variants are discovered every day.

Gasasira said it is not yet clear what proportion of new cases was attributable to Omicron and Delta and the picture will become clearer with more genomic sequencing. He said:

In the third week of November, we still had a significant amount of the Delta variant circulating in Zimbabwe.

By the first week of December, most of the samples that were collected were Omicron.

We can’t reach a firm conclusion as to what proportion of Omicron, Delta, and other variants of interest, we still have because the number of samples that have been processed to date is very small.

In a few weeks, to come, we will be more confident to confirm if it is true this variant (Omicron) is causing milder illness than previous variants.

According to an online source, genomic sequencing is a laboratory method that is used to determine the entire genetic makeup of a specific organism or cell type.

More: NewsDay

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Sakhekile 5 months ago

Why do u say it’s covid when they have not yet said it’s covid,if there is going to be an outbreak of any disease it’s going to be Covid..

Omicron Warrior 5 months ago

I wonder what the Bulawayo City council health department is planning, this flu is everywhere, shools, Buses, streets etc, the numbers,ts something we have never seen before.

Its affecting everyone from toddlers to the aged.

We need an explanation, is it Omicron or a new Variant? We know its Covid 19.

### 5 months ago

Iri kwese iyo tatonzwa nayo isu

Imwe mbeu 5 months ago

Ummm..ma1 ini nditori nayo izvozvi

umutali 5 months ago

Gasarira flue iyoyo haisi kwaBlawayo chete iwe Harare nedzimwe nzvimbo, takatorwara nayo tikatopora kare ndimi makatosara murikutaura zvakasara, fambai muvanhu muvabunze. Vanhu tirikurwarira mudzimba tichipora hedu kkk

Yakatekeshera kare flue iyoyo

🧐 5 months ago

It's so sad that whenever a variant is discovered in Africa, for all intents and purposes, it is named after the country wherein it's first found, just like what that gentleman quoted above appears to be doing there yet the UK discovered variant was never referred to as the British variant! If the first case of this virus had been discovered in Africa, I wonder what they'd be saying about the continent.

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