Itchy Eyes? The New ‘Arcturus’ COVID Variant, or XBB.1.16, Could Be Behind It


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CHICAGO, IL – Health officials are monitoring a new COVID variant known as the “Arcturus” variant, or XBB.1.16, which is spreading in multiple countries and bringing with it a perplexing new symptom for this time of year – itchy eyes. 

The variant, deemed more transmissible than its predecessors, has been confirmed in around 20 countries as of Friday. 

While it has not shown signs of more severe illness, it stands out for causing conjunctivitis, or red and pink eye, often accompanied by itchiness. With the arrival of allergy season, the new symptom has led to confusion in some cases.


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