As New Delhi continues to battle the third and the deadliest surge of Covid-19, another threat has started to loom over the national capital.
Several hospitals across the city are reporting cases of reinfection.
The instances are relatively low, but alarm bells have begun to ring in the health ministry.
On Monday, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital reported that it is treating two people who have been reinfected by Covid-19. The patients were a man with comorbidity and a healthcare worker at the hospital. The hospital said the man was found to have been reinfected a mere 25 days after testing negative, while the employee contracted Covid-19 again within two months of her recovery.
The Indraprastha Apollo Hospital has also seen similar cases recently. The hospital told IANS that it has at least five patients who have been reinfected.
Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, at Apollo said one of his patients was readmitted after testing positive again - 21/2 months after he recovered. "The patient was comorbid," said Dr Chatterjee. "He was treated for 10 days during the first instance of the infection and was discharged.
"However, two and a half months later, he complained of the onset of Covid-19-induced symptoms and when tested was found positive."
Aakash Healthcare also reported two cases of reinfection recently. One of them tested positive after recovering from the coronavirus two months ago.
"Ten days ago, the patient was admitted with high fever, cough and difficulty in breathing," said Dr Akshay Budhraja, consultant, Department of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, at Aakash.
"He had obesity as an underlying condition. He received eight days of treatment before being discharged.
"During our investigation, the patient revealed that he tested positive in early September when his whole family had contracted the virus.
"Since the severity of the disease was mild, he opted for home isolation and tested negative after 21 days. However, he started having breathing issues and fever in late October and when he underwent the RT-PCR test, the result came out positive."
Dr Budhraja said that the findings of investigations such as CT scan and blood test indicated that it was reinfection.
Dr Sandeep Nayar, senior director and head, Centre for Chest and Respiratory Disease, at BLK Super Speciality Hospital said that his hospital has been admitting patients who have been reinfected.
"I just saw a patient who again tested positive for Covid-19 after recovery from a complaint of mild symptoms," he said.
Dr Chatterjee said more follow-up steps are needed to confirm the reported cases of reinfection as they may trigger panic among the public.
"Despite all the indicators suggesting the cases as reinfection of the viral disease, we need to be more careful before labelling them as reinfection as it could create panic," he said.
"To ascertain whether the cases are reinfection, reactivation or relapse of the disease would require a thorough study and a proper follow-up."
Indo-Asian News Service