First known US Omicron case found in fully vaccinated overseas traveller
The United States on Wednesday identified its first known COVID case caused by the Omicron variant, discovered in a fully vaccinated patient who travelled to South Africa, as scientists continue to study the risks the new version could pose.
Public health officials said the infected person, who had mild and improving symptoms, returned to the United States from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive seven days later.
That patient was fully vaccinated but did not have a booster shot, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, who briefed reporters at the White House.
The person is in self-quarantine and all of the patient's close contacts have tested negative, he said.
Key questions remain about the new variant, which mutated in ways that health experts think could improve its ability to both spread and evade some of the defenses provided by vaccines. Work is underway to update those vaccines, if necessary.
Omicron has been found in two dozen countries, including several in Europe plus Canada, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Israel.
The United States has not yet detected community transmission of Omicron. Across much of the country, COVID transmission remains high but new cases have held fairly steady over the last two weeks, according to a Reuters tally.
(Source : Reuters)