Dr Maria talks about the current surge in respiratory diseases and COVID JN.1 subvariant

Subarna Debbarma (BPT, DNHE)

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove (COVID-19 Technical Lead) talked about JN.1 subvariant on Twitter or X at 15 December 2023.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove

"COVID19 is not the only respiratory disease circulating. Influenza, RSV and common childhood pneumonia are on the rise. We're seeing a surge or an increase in respiratory infections for a number of reasons. It's not just Covid-19 that is circulating. We have influenza, we have other viruses, we have other bacteria.

In some parts of the world, we're entering the winter months, but in all parts of the world, people are starting to gather for the holiday season and as people gather, they spend more time indoors, especially if there's poor ventilation. These pathogens that spread efficiently between people and through the air will take advantage. 

COVID-19 what's New?

Covid-19 is one of the diseases that is currently on the rise, and this is again due to a number of factors. This virus, SARS Cov 2, is evolving. It's changing, and it's circulating in all countries and we know this through reports from countries, either from traditional based surveillance systems, but also through waste water systems.

 In some countries, we have these XBB sublineages, and they represent around 68% or so of the sequences that are shared globally. The other grouping are these BA.2.86 sublineages.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove Talked about JN.1 subvariant

 You've heard about these, but probably most notably JN.1, which causes the full spectrum of disease, everything from asymptomatic infection all the way to severe disease and death, similar to what we've seen with other omacron sublineages. 

What is really important is that we are able to track this, and so we are asking our member states to continue with strong surveillance, good sequencing and sharing of those sequences in a timely manner so we can assess the circulation around the world and take some steps to potentially modify what we are advising to the world. 

How can people protect themselves against COVID-19 in this season?

The advice that we give to all people around the world is similar to what we have in the past. Protect yourself from infection using a number of different tools, but also make sure that if you get infected, that you seek clinical care and you get vaccinated when it's your turn to prevent severe disease and death. 

All approved Covid-19 vaccines continue to provide protection against severe disease and death, and this includes against all of the circulating variants, including JN.1".

Video Source: WHO 

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