Year-ender 2022: Omicron to sudden cardiac arrest; diseases that made news | Health


Year-ender 2022: While the world continued to cope with a milder version of Covid – Omicron and its many variants in 2022, the year also witnessed the dreadful complications of health scares like dengue, monkeypox and sudden cardiac arrest that hogged no less limelight than Covid. But just as people thought Coronavirus was part of history books now, the surge of a new variant in China has been giving jitters across the world. India has issued fresh advisory for following the established Covid protocol. As the year draws to close, we asked experts about the diseases that made news this year and here’s what they had to say. (Also read: Omicron BF.7 cases surge; common and unusual symptoms of Covid to watch out for)

1. Omicron

Omicron(Pixabay)
Omicron(Pixabay)

From Omicron XBB variant, BA.2, BQ.1, to BF.7, many variants of Omicron led to increase in Covid cases across the world. While some of these subvariants were highly infectious, with vaccination and natural immunity, cases in India were in control and did not create much panic as the symptoms too were mild. But the new subvariant BF.7 that is wreaking havoc in China has also been found in India and there is a fear of a fresh wave in the coming year.

“The wave of Covid-19 in China is being caused by virus Omicron BF.5.2.1.7, also called as BF.7. It is a variant mutant of the Omicron and has one of the highest transmissibility amongst all Covid variants so far. The R0 value of this mutant as per studies is approximately 10-18.6 which means that any infected individual can infect 10-18.6 people around him. Also, there is quicker infection rate of this virus, in hours, which makes it difficult to be detected in RT-PCR test. Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate is the most important strategy to check this infection and its community outbreaks,” says Dr Charu Dutt Arora, Consultant Physician and Infectious Disease Specialist, Head, Ameri Health, Asian Hospital, Faridabad.

Symptoms

Common cold, fever, fatigue, sore throat, headache and body pain. Cough and respiratory symptoms are also present in infected patients. Abdominal symptoms like stomach pain and loose motions are also being reported.

2. Monkeypox

Monkeypox(Pinterest)
Monkeypox(Pinterest)

Monkeypox that was earlier reported only in Africa since many years, made its way to many countries like Europe, Asia, South Africa and even India.

“This year, we have seen incidents of monkeypox cases globally from places where it was never reported. It was earlier only reported from West and Central Africa but this year, countries such as Europe, Asia, South Africa, and India have also reported cases of monkeypox. Unusual cases were reported in people who did not have a travel history to any part of Africa, and do not have direct contact with the disease. It was just linked epidemiologically that they travelled to some country and tested positive for the virus. It is not a dreaded disease but at least some form of disfigurement by causing a big vascular rash on the skin. India even recorded a death in Kerala due to monkeypox which was a negative change, as we do not see such an impact of monkeypox. This year we had seen certain infections apart from Covid that were seen in December 2019 in China and globally in 2020. In 2022 we saw the onset of monkeypox,” says Dr. Ankita Baidya, Consultant – Infectious Diseases, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka.

Symptoms

Patients present with fever, chills, muscle pain, fatigue, headache, rash and lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes). The rash generally presents after one to three days from exposure. It starts from the face and then spread to other parts of the body such as palms and soles.

3. Dengue

Dengue
Dengue

“In other regular infections, dengue cases were on the rise this year and it was earlier linked to only low platelet count. However, this year, dengue also reported symptoms of raised liver enzymes, hepatitis and fluid collection around the lungs and abdomen which is the cause of serositis. This year, a change in the infection pattern was noticed in a new infection introduced globally like monkey pox, and a commonly known virus of dengue in our community presenting in a different way,” says Dr Baidya.

Symptoms

Symptoms of dengue include sudden high fever which can be up to 104-106 degrees F, severe joint and muscle pain, skin rash, nausea, pain behind the eyes. In severe dengue, complications like dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome is reports.

4. Sudden cardiac death

Sudden cardiac arrest(Freepik)
Sudden cardiac arrest(Freepik)

Many young people lost their lives to sudden cardiac deaths and many factors from Covid-19, stress to excessive exercise were attributed to the cardiac death.

“One disease or cause of death that came to light in 2022 was sudden cardiac death especially in young adults. Most common cause of such sudden cardiac death is coronary artery disease, accounting for nearly 80% of such cases. Coronary artery disease means blockages in arteries which supply blood to heart. Whenever there is sudden occlusion of a heart artery it leads to heart attack. At the time of heart attack there is a markedly increased risk of abnormal heart beating which is called arrhythmia and that causes sudden cardiac death. Other causes of sudden cardiac death include congenital (since birth) heart defects or abnormalities in the heart’s electrical system, cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy and arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy. One important precipitating factor for sudden cardiac deaths, which was observed in many young deaths last year, is indulging in excessive unaccustomed physical activity. Such spurts of unaccustomed physical activity are very dangerous,” says Dr Rakesh Rai Sapra, Director and Senior Consultant-Cardiology, Marengo QRG Hospital Faridabad.

Symptoms

Chest pain or discomfort, heart tremors or palpitations, rapid heartbeats, excessive shortness of breath, unexplained fainting, light-headedness, and unusual fatigue.

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