South African variant of COVID-19 confirmed in Jackson County

Coronavirus

JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. — An individual in Jackson County, Missouri, is diagnosed with a COVID-19 variant identified in South Africa in December 2020. This is the first diagnosis of this variant in the state.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the B. 1.351 variant was first identified in the United States in January 2021.

The adult was diagnosed with the variant after whole genome sequencing conducted through a commercial laboratory.

CDC said 374 cases in 34 states have been reported in the United States as of April 5.

“We continue to encourage prevention measures to be in place as we identify more positive cases of these variants,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS. “We also continue to ask that individuals consider getting vaccinated when they are able. The vaccines that are currently available in the United States appear to be effective against these variant viruses.”

The DHSS said the variant is not confirmed to cause severe disease and it is not clear whether it spreads more readily than other strains.

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