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New 'Arcturus' variant of coronavirus linked to uptick in pink eye symptoms

Public health officials in the state say a new strain of coronavirus known as XBB.1.16 may be linked to an uptick in pink eye cases.

Arizona Public Health Association executive director Will Humble said while pink eye has been noted as a symptom of prior virus strains, it hasn’t been as highly reported.

“The good news is with this strain it’s no more serious or lethal than any previous strains. It does appear, anecdotally, to cause more pink eye, especially in kids,” he said.

Humble said the nickname of the new strain is Arcturus, named after the star.

He recommends getting children vaccinated or boosted as well as making sure they’re up-to-date on all their other shots.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.