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Omicron Sub-Variant Detected in Southern Idaho
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Saturday, January 29, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Omicron’s cousin—the BA.2—has been confirmed in Ada County.

The sub-variant has now been indentified in 22 states and at least 40 countries.

“The identification of the first infection with this sub-variant of Omicron is a reminder that the virus that causes COVID-19 will continue to mutate as long as it is being transmitted, and is a reminder of the importance of vaccination and other measures to protect yourself from this virus,” said Dr. Christine Hahn, state epidemiologist and the medical director for DHW’s Division of Public Health.

The BA.1 lineage of Omicron is currently responsible for 98 percent of all COVID-19 infections in Idaho.

Little is known yet about how infectious the BA.2 sub-variant is. Nor is it known how severe the illness is in those infected with it.

Early data from Asia and Europe, however, indicate there have not been major differences in the severity of disease or the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines with the BA.2 sub-lineage compared with the Omicron variant.

That said, COVID-19 treatments and vaccines may become less effective as mutations continue to emerge. And natural immunity from infection with prior variants may not be protective against future variants.

Vaccinations remain the best defense to reduce transmission to reduce chance of mutations, said Lindsay Haskell, Central District Health’s communicable disease control manager.

“All of Idaho is currently in high transmission and now is the time that everyone should take action to help reduce the spread,” she added.

DID YOU KNOW?

Zoo Boise has vaccinated half of its animals with the COVID-19 vaccine and plans to vaccinate more.

The zoo is following the guidance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Association of Zoos and Aquarium after four snow leopards died of COVID complications in the Midwest.

The zoo started first with primates, otters, hoofed animals and farm animals that are in close contact with the public, according to KTVB.

 The coronavirus can infect a plethora of animals from sheep to gorillas to sperm whales. Some European farmers have had to slaughter their mink after they were infected with COVID, in part because mink are raised in close proximity with one another on mink farms.

It’s not clear how many dogs and cats have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, but symptoms seems to be mild if they appear at all.

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