Monday 21 September, 2020

PAHO issues alert on Coronavirus

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has issued an epidemiology alert on Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) for the Americas.  

PAHO in its alert has recommended that member countries strengthen surveillance activities to detect patients with acute respiratory disease, and for health workers to have access to up-to-date information on the illness.  

Currently, the organisation does not recommend any screening at entry points regarding this event, nor any restrictions on travel or trade. 

The alert notes there is still “uncertainty about the new pathogen and the spectrum of manifestations it may cause, the source of infection, the mode of transmission, the incubation period, the severity of the disease and the specific control measures.” 

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).  

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. 

Up to January 21, 2020, four countries reported confirmed cases to the World Organization Health (WHO):  

  • China - 198 cases, including three deaths, two cases in Beijing and one case in Guandong, all imported from Wuhan
  • Japan - one case, imported from Wuhan, China 
  • Thailand - two cases imported from Wuhan, China
  • The Republic of Korea - one case imported from Wuhan, China

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