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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

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The B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) was first detected in specimens collected on November 11, 2021, in Botswana and on November 14 in South Africa;* the first confirmed case of Omicron in the United States was identified in California on December 1, 2021 (1). On November 29, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services was notified of six probable cases of COVID-19 in one household, including one case in a man aged 48 years (the index patient) who had recently returned from Nigeria. Given the patient's travel history, Omicron infection was suspected. Specimens from all six persons in the household tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing on December 1, and the following day genomic sequencing by the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory identified an identical Omicron genotype from each specimen (Figure). Phylogenetic analysis was conducted to determine if this cluster represented an independent introduction of Omicron into the United States, and a detailed epidemiologic investigation was conducted. This activity was reviewed by CDC and was conducted consistent with applicable federal law and CDC policy.§.



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