People are reporting the same first symptom as a new Covid variant sends hospitalisations soaring by 30%

Hospital corridor and woman's head hurting

Many people are reporting a fever as KP.3 drives up hospitalisation rates

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Adam Chapman

By Adam Chapman

Published: 24/06/2024

- 10:16

Updated: 24/06/2024

- 10:22

The unpleasant symptom can take up to a week to subside, anecdotal reports suggest

Many people are reporting a nasty fever as a new Covid variant rampages through the UK.

The KP.3 variant belongs to a new group of COVID-19 variants known collectively as FLiRT. The unofficial moniker was inspired by the names of the mutations in the genetic code of the variants.

They are a sublineage of JN.1 - a variant that emerged at the end of 2023 and accounted for around 60 percent of cases in England earlier this year, UKHSA data shows.

There's currently no indication that KP.3 is more severe than its predecessors, but its rapid spread is giving rise to fears that some of the immunity conferred by vaccination or past infection is waning. Hospital admissions are up 24 percent in the week ending on Sunday, the latest data shows.

What are the symptoms?

According to CDC Spokesperson, Rosa Norman, the symptoms associated with KP.3 are identical to those from JN.1. They include fever or chills.

This is line with anecdotal reports posted online.

"Fever was my first notable symptom on June 1 this year," one user wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

A second posted: "Had Covid last week, and I had a fever for five days straight", while a third revealed it was the first time they had experienced a fever from Covid.

Other possible symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • "Brain fog" (feeling less wakeful and aware)
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (upset stomach, mild diarrhoea, vomiting)

How to respond

According to the NHS, you should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you or your child have symptoms and either:

  • Have a high temperature
  • Do not feel well enough to go to work, school, childcare, or do your normal activities

You should also make sure you are vaccinated: vaccines remain our best defence against severe disease and hospitalisation from flu and COVID-19.

That's why over-75s, those who have a weakened immune system, and anyone living in a care home for older adults, are advised to come forward for their spring vaccination.

Man sick

You should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have a high temperature

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Summer wave?

The current number of recorded infections is far lower than the peak of the spring wave, which crested less than a month ago – and the soaring levels seen last autumn and winter.

But the latest UKHSA figures show the proportion of positive test results among people suspected of having Covid rose by 19 percent in a week, from 8.4 to 10 percent.

Similarly, tests at GPs showed positivity rates jumped by 13 percent – from 4.7 percent to 5.3 percent – over the same period.

Commenting on the current rise, Professor Steve Griffin, of Leeds University, said: "This is clearly early days, but it certainly looks as though yet another Covid wave is building.

"If the rise in hospitalisations continues, this is obviously worrying. Although we’ve just had a spring booster campaign for vulnerable populations, the uptake was lower than in 2023, and there is a considerable difference between the current vaccines and circulating viruses."

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