Delta variant may cause hearing loss, gangrene

The delta coronavirus variant, first discovered in India, may be causing symptoms not typically seen in COVID-19 patients, Bloomberg reported June 7.

These symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, hearing loss and joint pain, according to six physicians treating COVID-19 patients across the country. 

Dr. Ganesh Manudhane, a cardiologist in Mumbai, said some patients are also developing small blood clots that are so severe, they lead to gangrene.

"I saw three to four cases the whole of last year, and now it's one patient a week," Dr. Manudhane said of the complication. In several cases, he said, amputation of a finger or foot was required.

India is facing an unprecedented surge in cases, which could be driving an increase in rare COVID-19 complications such as the blood clots. However, Dr. Manudhane said it's unusual to see blood clots in patients of all age groups with no history of coagulation issues.  

Similarly, Abdul Ghafur, an infectious disease physician in Chennai, India, said he's seeing more COVID-19 patients with diarrhea than during the pandemic's first wave. 

"We need more scientific research to analyze if these newer clinical presentations are linked to B.1.617 or not," he told Bloomberg, referring to the delta variant.

The delta variant has been identified in at least 60 countries since emerging in India last December. Scientists have confirmed the variant is highly transmissible, and now early evidence from the U.K. and Scotland suggests it may also increase the risk of hospital admission.

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