I know, I know. You are as tired of hearing about COVID almost as much as I am tired about writing about it. But when there is new developments I feel like you need to be informed. There is a new variant of Omicron that has now been found in Oklahoma. This variant is being called Stealth Omicron or the scientific name of BA.2 (the original omicron is BA.1). You will want to READ ON because they symptoms are totally different and will often be missed on COVID tests. READ ON….

Omicron has proven to be highly contagious and Stealth is no exception. Reports are showing that Stealth Omicron is even more contagious, up to 30% more. While there are some similarities between the viruses the symptoms are different. Both omicron variants are transmitted via the air however Stealth Omicron lands in the gut rather than the lungs.

Initial symptoms of Stealth are dizziness and fatigue. This can then progress to include any of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal Pain

While loss of taste and smell are unusual with Stealth, people can still other symptoms that are similar to other COVID variants:

  • Fever
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Elevated heart rate

Because this virus makes migrates toward the gi tract you are less likely to test positive with the COVID nasal swabs antigen tests. The PCR testing will still detect it. The reason it is called Stealth is because it flying under the radar. During regular testing it appears to be a delta variant of the virus and when further genetic testing is done it is clearly an omicron variant.

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Most people who have experienced Omicron report nasal type of symptoms that are often quite mild. Yet there are many people who have been hospitalized and are still dying from this variant. Multiple studies are demonstrating the people hospitalized have either not had the vaccine or have been very delayed in getting the booster. Initial studies are showing the Stealth Omicron to react similarly with the vaccine as the original Omicron so vaccines and boosters are still being advised. Even though the primary symptoms can be GI related this is still a serious variant that can lead to hospitalizations and death.

If you have any GI symptoms take a moment and realize this could be COVID before you power thru and go to work or be around a lot of people. While testing may give you a false sense of security that it is not covid go ahead and stay away from people until you are completely symptom free.

To your health,

Laura