Monday, January 24

Oslo people who are infected with the omicron variant have mild symptoms

None of those infected in the omicron outbreak in Oslo have so far become seriously ill.

Tine Ravlo is an assistant district chief physician in Frogner district, where the Christmas table outbreak took place.

Assistant district chief physician Tine Ravlo in Frogner district informs NTB.

– Those we have mapped, who belong to Oslo, have symptoms in the form of headaches or sore throats. Some have a cough. But they have what we doctors call mild symptoms, she says.

This means that they are at home and that they do not need to be hospitalized.

Ravlo believes the disease picture fits well with what South African doctors have said.

– They report cold symptoms and some flu symptoms. They are fine, she says.

– Does this seem milder than delta?

– I think it is a bit early to conclude.

Oslo Municipality has asked everyone who was at Louise Restaurant & Bar on Aker Brygge on Friday 26 November in the period 22.30 to 03.00 to test themselves. The restaurant is the epicenter of what now appears to be a major outbreak of omicron in Norway.

No wild infection

The eruption is traced back to a Christmas table that was arranged by the solar energy company Scatec at Louise Restaurant & Bar at Aker Brygge in Oslo on Friday 26 November.

50-60 infected people have now been discovered after the Christmas table. At least one of these has been confirmed to be infected with the omicron variant after whole genome sequencing, while 10–15 cases are described as probable omicron after screening. The municipality is still waiting for an answer for the remaining.

Scatec has its largest foreign office in South Africa, where the omicron variant was first discovered. According to Scatec, the employee was present at the Christmas table who had been at the office in Cape Town.

Ravlo says that so far young adults have been infected in the outbreak.

The incubation period – that is, the time it takes from becoming infected to becoming ill – appears to be two to four days.

So far, no wild-type infection with omikron has been detected in Oslo.

– In the outbreak we are working on now, everything is connected to the Christmas table, Ravlo says.

Europe without serious cases

There have also been reports of mild symptoms in infected people from South Africa.

But the information is anecdotal, and the uncertainty is great.

According to the EU’s infection control agency ECDC, a total of 79 confirmed cases of omicron were registered in 15 European countries until 12 o’clock on Thursday, including four confirmed cases in Norway. Among these, no cases of serious illness or death have been reported.

“All cases for which severity information is available are either asymptomatic or mild,” writes the ECDC.

Crisis leader Line Vold in FHI believes it is too early to say whether omikron causes more or less serious illness than delta.

Still great uncertainty

Crisis leader Line Vold at the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) believes the signals are divergent. She points out that so far there are about the same number of hospital admissions per. infected as before in South Africa.

– But this is not solid enough to be able to draw any conclusions, says Vold to NTB.

She states that it is too early to say whether omikron is more or less dangerous than delta.

Another unanswered question is how well the vaccines protect against omicron. FHI’s assumption is that the vaccines will continue to protect against serious illness.

– But exactly how much we do not know per. now, says Violence.

Gathers knowledge

The WHO’s preliminary assessment is that omikron poses a “very high” global risk.

According to the WHO, it can take several weeks to find out how serious a disease the omicron variant causes. But for now, it seems that the variant can be both more contagious and more resistant to vaccines than previous variants.

Violence says that FHI is now working closely with the City of Oslo to compile and systematize information about those who are infected with omikron Norway.

– This is a high priority, says Vold, who believes that Norway’s knowledge now about the new virus variant may also be important for other countries.

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