First known canadian case of BA.2.86 COVID-19 variant detected in British Columbia

Written by Henrik Rothen

Sep.07 - 2023 10:06 PM CET

First known canadian case of BA.2.86 COVID-19 variant detected.

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Health officials in British Columbia have confirmed the first known Canadian case of the BA.2.86 COVID-19 variant.

The individual, who resides in the Fraser Health region and has not traveled outside the province, tested positive for the variant.

Monitoring the Situation

According to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a joint statement, saying that the emergence of this variant in Canada was "not unexpected."

They added that the individual is not hospitalized and that the variant does not appear to be causing more severe illness.

Dr. Henry revealed that whole genome sequencing on viruses found in wastewater has not detected this variant. "So that tells us there's probably not a lot of it," she said.

She also noted that the variant is not spreading rapidly globally and that it's something to continue to monitor.

The World Health Organization (WHO) designated BA.2.86 as a variant under monitoring on August 17. Its unusually high number of mutations and emergence across continents have put health experts on high alert.

As fall approaches, health officials are advising the public to stay vigilant. Dr. Brian Conway, an infectious diseases specialist, said that COVID-19 is still causing approximately four deaths a day in Canada.

He emphasized the importance of staying up-to-date on vaccinations and following health guidelines.

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