Variant of Covid-19: “Lille disease”, an imaginary mutant

Suddenly the noses started to sneeze and the throats to cough. The students of Lille had acquired the certainty: a mysterious pathology had just emerged at the start of the new school year and they were the very first victims. “Lille disease is devastating everyone”; “I’m on the verge of clamoring”; “That the person who transmitted it to me denounce himself”, they strafed on social networks, going so far as to speak of a “variant Masséna” and a “Solfé-nasopharyngitis”, in reference to the crowded streets of bars, youth headquarters, where evil was born.

In the Lille offices, taken by storm, patients emerge with an identical diagnosis. The prescriptions for “angina”, “cold”, “nasopharyngitis” make waltz the hypothesis of an imaginary mutant targeting those under 20 years old. “Two weeks ago, I had several patients who thought they were suffering from a new disease,” says a disillusioned general practitioner in the city. I tested them but they did not have the Covid. They were just seasonal viruses, nothing to whip a cat! “

” It is bullshit “

Why are there so many sick people? The reason is quite clear, according to the doctor. “Come to Lille, go rue Masséna. It’s like being in St. Peter’s Square on court days. It is the return of evenings, hugs, integration weekends in schools and especially the end of social distance. But the rumor has already acted like a virus. She gallops from one Twitter account to another. Empty chairs at the university comfort her.

“This story is nonsense, blows Philippe Amouyel, professor of public health at the Lille University Hospital. When I heard about it, I immediately asked for his opinion a general practitioner friend who replied that it was only fake news. It is also the illustration that today, an epidemic can only be the result of Covid.

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In mid-September, word of mouth found such a sounding board that Public Health France launched an epidemiological analysis. The Hauts-de-France regional health agency also received a report from a doctor, surprised to see so many students consult. Result of the investigation? An increase in viruses that we owe to the relaxation of barrier gestures. But no more than the years without Covid.