Monday 24 February, 2020

Update: Jamaican Health Minister says 'no truth' to Coronavirus claim

UPDATE January 28, 2020, 2.40 pm: 

Jamaica's Health Minister Christopher Tufton said there's no truth to reports of a person on the island with the Coronavirus.

Speaking at a media briefing in Kingston on Tuesday, Tufton said however as the matter is a serious one he said it was better to 'err on the side of caution'.

Concerns were raised after reports that the Accident and Emergency Department at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew had been put under lockdown after a patient was admitted there. 

However, Medical Chief of Staff at the University Hospital at Mona, Dr Carl Bruce, said the patient was transferred from another hospital and the patient was evaluated.

He said because the patient had a history of travel to China, the team considered whether or not one of the differential diagnoses should consider the viral outbreak.

He said the patient does not meet the 'case definition' of the Coronavirus but doctors wanted to ensure that they discussed it. He said the patient does not have a fever above 38 degrees Celsius or show respiratory symptoms associated with the virus.

He said the patient is doing well and he/she will be discharged and sent home once all of the tests are completed. 

 

Original story:

Jamaican authorities are investigating reports of a person who allegedly showed symptoms of the Coronavirus. 

The Accident and Emergency Department at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew is on lockdown amid what is believed to be the first suspected case of the Coronavirus in the island.

Loop News understands that the patient recently travelled to China, where there has been an outbreak of the illness.

The Ministry of Health has called an emergency press conference to address the development.

This is a developing story; more details to come.

 

What is the Coronavirus?

According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Coronavirus is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS and SARS.

Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread.

However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring.

At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.  

The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.

 

How is it spread?

When person-to-person spread has occurred with MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of SARS and MERS between people has generally occurred between close contacts.

It’s important to note that how easily a virus spreads person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s important to know this in order to better understand the risk associated with this virus.

While CDC considers this is a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time.

 

Symptoms

For confirmed 2019-nCoV infections, reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.

 

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

 

Treatment

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

See Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals for information on patients under investigation.

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