Two different viruses are currently spreading rapidly

A few months ago, we were only concerned about the variants of COVID that caused the coronavirus. In recent days, however, a new virus has emerged that poses a greater threat to human health.

We discuss the H3N2 seasonal influenza A virus and the recent XBB 1.16 variant of COVID. Both viruses are currently dominant.

Are they similar?

No. While their mode of action may seem similar to us due to the similar symptoms seen in people who become infected, these are different viruses and should therefore be treated differently.

H3N2 is a common virus that causes seasonal flu. It is not a new virus, although it has mutated in several strains. It is a subtype of the influenza A virus.

XBB is a recombinant strain of COVID that causes the coronavirus. XBB is a recombinant of sublines BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75, both subvariants of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. From 2019 to now, the novel coronavirus has mutated into several strains, of which the Omicron is the dominant one. XBB 1.16 is a variant of the XBB variant.


​How does COVID XBB infection differ from H3N2 infection?​

Although one cannot clearly distinguish between the infections by looking at the symptoms, a medical test can help you differentiate between the two.

Symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, high fever and clinical signs of pneumonia are the typical features of an H3N2 infection.

Classic COVID symptoms include headache, body aches, fatigue, sore throat, and runny or stuffy nose.

What should people pay attention to?

Since both viruses are spreading massively in the country and it is difficult to tell them apart, it is important to get tested when you see the signs.

In addition to medical tests, hygiene guidelines must also be followed to prevent the spread of the viruses. Both viruses spread from an infected person to a healthy person through direct exposure, through physical contact, through contact with air droplets released from the nose and mouth.

Remaining isolated until symptoms have completely resolved is key to breaking the chain of transmission of these viruses.

How to prevent these infections?

Wearing masks in public places can reduce the transmission of the viruses from an infected person to a healthy person.

Apart from this, keeping the hands clean and sanitized before touching the face is key to protecting the body from the virus. Also, avoid touching exposed surfaces in public places, and areas of the home that are frequently visited should be cleaned regularly.

If you have children or the elderly in your home, make sure the indoor air circulates well.

Underlying health problems worsen