Hyderabad: If you've recovered from COVID-19, does the virus bother you again? The case of a nurse at the ESIC Hospital in Hyderabad indicates that a second infection by the coronavirus is possible.
Last week, the male staff nurse tested positive for Covid-19, nearly a month after a previous test had declared him negative after he had been quarantined and treated for the infection.
The case has prompted concerns over reinfection among patients who had been declared clear of the disease.
This is the second known case in Hyderabad of a previously recovered patient testing positive for Covid-19.
The male nurse, in his early 30s, tested positive for Covid-19 at the ESIC Hospital in Sanatnagar during a random test on June 15. He was placed under institutional isolation and discharged on June 26 after a post-quarantine test certified him as negative. He went back to work.
But last week, he developed a mild cough and cold, and was tested again. The test came back positive on July 20. Four days later, his wife, also a nurse at the same hospital, and their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter and his mother, tested positive for Covid-19.
The male nurse is astounded: “I was under the impression that once I got the disease and got better, I would develop immunity and never get it again.”
His second experience as a Covid-19 positive patient has been worse than the first, he said. “I was having very high fever, body ache. For two days, I required oxygen support.” He is still undergoing treatment at the hospital as are the rest of his family, he said.
Asked about the possibility of a second infection by Covid-19, Dr Ashish Chauhan, a senior consultant of internal medicine at Apollo Hospitals, said, “We are still in the learning stage about coronavirus infections and with respect to its acute presentation as still we are finding new symptoms in almost every other patient."
Dr Chauhan said it was difficult to predict if recovered patients were likely to develop chronic complications or whether there would be post-infection cardiac or neurological issues.