The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is issuing a Health Advisory to provide the latest information regarding the emergence of the Delta variant. The Delta variant, formerly known as the India variant, causing coronavirus originated and rapidly spread in India, and is emerging in counties around the United States. The department is reporting that research suggests the Delta variant is associated with a 64% increased risk of household transmission compared with the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7, formerly UK variant), and is 40% more transmissible outdoors. According to the patient data from the UK where the Delta variant now accounts for 91% of the Covid-19 cases, disease caused by this variant may not present in typical fashion with cough and fever, but rather headache, runny nose, and sore throat. Also, according to patient data, most cases were appearing in young people who had not yet been vaccinated. This variant is appearing to be far more transmissible as each positive case is infecting multiple people.
The Missouri DHSS urges health care providers and the public to be vigilant for the possibility of Delta virus infection. Social distancing and appropriate masking remain very important countermeasures. Vaccination is the most effective and long-lasting tool for protection from this infection. The DHSS continues to encourage all eligible persons to get vaccinated against COVID-19.