Skip to main content

Health

Mexico reports first case of the omicron variant

The patient voluntarily checked into a private hospital in Mexico City and is suffering from mild symptoms

Personas caminando en el centro de la ciudad de México.
Personas caminando en el centro de la ciudad de México. | Foto: Shutterstock/ Eve Orea

December 3, 2021 7:18pm

Updated: December 3, 2021 10:12pm

Mexican epidemiologist and head of the Undersecretariat of Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell, confirmed that a 51-year-old tested positive for the omicron variant of the coronavirus after returning home from a trip to South Africa, marking the first reported case of the enigmatic new variant in Mexico.

The Mexican official took to Twitter to explain that the patient voluntarily checked into a private hospital in Mexico City to avoid infecting others. He also reported that the individual is suffering from mild symptoms and his prognosis is positive.

The Mexican Ministry of Health later reported that none of the individuals who have been in close contact with the patient have so far reported symptoms and have continued to test negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The Institute for Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference (InDRE) received a sample from the infected individual and confirmed the diagnosis on Nov. 30.

For its part, the Ministry of Health of Mexico reported that, so far, people in contact with the first case do not present symptoms, warning signs or positivity for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. He added that on November 30 the sample of the infected patient was received at the Institute for Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference (InDRE), where it began its analysis on November 26.

"The preliminary results are positive for the N2 gene, and the sample has a failure in the Gen S target: negative for the S gene, positive for the ORFab gene and positive for the N gene, characteristics of the Omicron variant," the ministry reported in a statement.

On Nov. 26, the World Health Organization recognized omicron as a "variant of concern" and Mexican health authorities updated the country’s genomic surveillance protocols to carry out the search for the new variant.

In a Nov. 30 statement, Lopez-Gatell said that omicron’s arrival in Mexico was imminent and that it would be “one of the predominant variants.” He continued to stress the issue of unequal global vaccine distribution, noting that regions that make up 70% of the world’s population are only 10% vaccinated.

The first case of the omicron variant in the United States was confirmed by the CDC on Wednesday. Five more cases have since been reported in New York.

Brazil reported its first case on Wednesday after a man tested positive after returning from a trip to South Africa. His wife, who did not travel with him, also tested positive.