CDC starts tracking XBB.1.16: Where it's most prevalent

 The latest omicron subvariant experts are keeping their eye on accounts for 7.2 percent of cases in the U.S., according to the CDC's latest variant proportion estimates

The estimates for the week ending April 15 indicate XBB.1.16 is most prevalent in HHS Region 6, where it makes up 21.3 percent of cases. That region includes Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Arkansas. Prior to this week, the CDC hadn't been tracking XBB.1.16 individually, as sublineages estimated to account for less than 1 percent of cases are not tracked on their own. 

Experts anticipate the omicron relative and other XBB subvariants to become dominant in the U.S. in the coming weeks. 

"Clinical implications are unclear, but likely not a significant wave here. Still reason to be cautious," Eric Topol, MD, said of XBB.1.16's growth in an April 14 tweet

In India, where the strain is fueling a surge, it appears to be causing a new symptom among children: conjunctivitis. However, that's based on anecdotal reports, and it's still early to tell whether the symptom set has actually shifted with this subvariant. 

There are currently no indications of increased disease severity associated with the subvariant, according to the World Health Organization. 


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