Covid: Patient with BA.5 variant details unusual symptoms – I thought it ‘was meningitis’

Fitness & Health:

BA.4 and BA.5 Covid variants were first picked up in South Africa but they might soon become prevalent in Europe and the US, according to health experts. These two subvariants are also thought to be behind the UK surge in cases. Currently, the Government data reports a 33.3 percent rise in coronavirus cases for the week ending on 26 June. Here’s Dr Claire Taylor’s experience with the new Omicron variant.

Dr Taylor has shared her experience with the new BA.5 variant on social media, listing the unusual symptoms.

When it comes to Covid, you may think about signs like fever, cough and loss or change to taste and smell.

However, the doctor shared that her and her son’s symptoms resembled the signs of meningitis.


From neck pain and stiffness to dislike of bright light, here’s what they experienced.

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“I was aching all over – hit by a bus type aching all over,” she penned on Twitter.

The doctor explained this “hit by a bus feeling” lasted for a few days before her neck became stiff.

Dr Taylor added: “I actually could not move my neck at all. Temperature was up and felt generally miserable.

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“NO cold symptoms whatsoever.”

At first, she wasn’t testing positive on a lateral flow Covid test. However, day five of her illness brought a “faintly positive” result.


Based on these signs, the doctor thought it “was meningitis” at first.

Her son also experienced lethargy and numbness in his feet by day seven.

While he started testing negative on lateral flow tests by the week mark, his symptoms only resolved after two weeks.

“This was not a respiratory virus for my son and I – it was essentially a viral meningitis (fever, neck pain and stiffness and dislike of bright light),” the doctor tweeted.

The symptoms experienced by Dr Taylor and her son weren’t your usual Covid symptoms.

After the appearance of Omicron last winter, patients started reporting different symptoms from the original signs, such as fever and cough.

Months later, the NHS updated its Covid symptom list, adding these signs:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • Aching body
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick or being sick.

As subvariants of Omicron, the BA.4 and BA.5 strains may have different symptoms compared to the original virus. However, scientists and experts are yet to identify the exact signs.

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Fortunately, the new variants are not thought to be any more lethal than other types of Covid.

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