JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) confirmed the first case of a COVID-19 variant strain in a Mississippi resident, the department announced on Monday.
MSDH said a case of the B.1.1.7 UK variant strain of COVID-19 was confirmed during routine testing. Additionally, the department said no international travel or spread to contacts is known to have occurred, but additional investigation is ongoing.
MSDH said the B.1.1.7 variant strain has been identified in 40 U.S. states and is known to spread more easily and quickly than other strains. While suspected, currently there is no direct evidence that this strain causes a more severe infection or a higher risk of death, the department said.
MSDH said they will continue to expand surveillance for variant strains in Mississippi, and it is likely that additional cases will be identified. Current available vaccines are expected to be effective against variant strains, but further research continues.