WHO issues warning after mysterious Chinese Coronavirus spreads to Japan

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The Japanese health ministry confirmed its first case of infection in the country after a man tested positive for the new pneumonia-like coronavirus. The announcement is prompting concerns about the spread of the virus as waves of tourists are set to travel for Chinese New Year. The mysterious virus has killed two and sickened at least 41 people in China.

The World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) tweeted at 2:10 pm on Sat, Jan 11, 2020: WHO interim guidance on a range of topics to help countries manage the new #coronavirus

Coronavirus

WHO: Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

The New Coronavirus In China Timeline

December 31, 2019: The WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. Around 44 suspected cases were reported in the month of December.

January 1, 2020: A seafood market was closed for environmental sanitation and disinfection after being closely linked with the patients.

January 5, 2020: Doctors ruled out severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as being the cause of the virus, as well as bird flu, Middle East respiratory syndrome and adenovirus.

January 9, 2020: A preliminary investigation identified the respiratory disease as a new type of coronavirus, Chinese state media reported.

Officials at Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported the outbreaks first death on January 9, a 61-year-old man.

January 13, 2020: A Chinese woman in Thailand was the first confirmed case of the mystery virus outside of China. The 61-year-old was quarantined on January 8, but has since returned home in a stable condition after having treatment, the Thai Health Ministry said.

January 14, 2020: The WHO say there is some limited human-to-human transmission of the virus. Two days previously, the UN agency said there was no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.

January 16, 2020: A man in Tokyo is confirmed to have tested positive for the disease after travelling to the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA

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Dr Shobha Singh