GPs are seeing patients with a respiratory virus at the moment. / sur

A respiratory virus that resembles Covid-19 is going around, but it isn't coronavirus

GPs are seeing quite a few patients with symptoms similar to Covid-19 and the flu but they test negative for these

ÁNGEL ESCALERA Malaga

GPs at health centres are reporting a number of cases where patients have a respiratory virus with symptoms similar to those of Covid-19, but they test negative for the coronavirus. The symptoms are moderate fever (around 38 degrees), generally feeling unwell, cough, runny nose, muscular pain and joint pain. The symptoms pass in two or three days and only a few patients have needed to be signed off sick for a short period.

It is a respiratory virus which isn’t coronavirus, A-type flu or B-type flu. These have been ruled out by tests, doctors have told SUR. “It’s very like Covid, but the tests are negative. What we know is that it is a catarrhal or flu-like virus, and there are a great many of those,” one GP said.

Making a precise diagnosis is made even more difficult by the fact that doctors are also seeing patients with flu. This is unusual at this time of year, because flu normally appears in November and disappears by the end of February or early March.

“It isn’t normal for there to be flu when we are almost in May. It could have something to do with masks outside no longer being obligatory, but in reality we don’t really know why it is happening,” said a doctor who works in Malaga city. He also pointed out that for two years there was very little flu around due to masks being worn, given that they stopped the spread of influenza infections.

Testing is the key

A new system of Covid-19 monitoring and control came into force on 28 March, which meant that now only people over 60, immuno-depressed patients and pregnant women are tested for the virus in normal circustances. Nonetheless, the GPs said that when any patient arrives with symptoms that could be Covid, they are tested.

“Nobody can stop us from using the tests we have available in order to make a correct diagnosis. That’s not just logical, it’s ethical as well. And if someone is ill, we sign them off sick,” sources said.

It is thanks to PCR and antigen tests that doctors know that the respiratory virus which is going around at the moment, affecting quite a number of people, is not Covid or flu.