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Public Health Advisory to Nigerians on Novel Coronavirus

Coronavirus

The first case of a novel (new) coronavirus strain (2019nCoV) was confirmed in China on the 7th of January, 2020.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. As this is a new virus, and new information is emerging every day, this advisory will be updated as new information and research on the virus and its impact on populations become available.

As at the 20th of January, 2020, 278 laboratory-confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV infection including six deaths have been reported to WHO globally since the first case was reported on the 31st of December 2019. Many of the initial cases were thought to have contracted the virus through animal-to-human transmission from the market, but human-to-human transmission has also been established. Global surveillance is being established and it is expected that more cases will be reported over the next weeks.

Wuhan city is a major transport hub in China. Beyond Wuhan, cases have been confirmed in other cities in China; Guangdong, Beijing and Shanghai. As at the 21st of January, five cases have been confirmed in four other countries: Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United States of America, all with a travel history to China.

Coronaviruses

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 (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.  

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are normally transmitted between animals and people. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans. Some coronaviruses can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, in a household or health care setting. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

What are the symptoms of someone infected with a coronavirus?

It depends on the virus, but common signs include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. This new coronavirus, 2019nCoV, appears to cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like cough and breathing difficulties. From current evidence, it appears that death is a rare outcome, and occurs mostly in patients with underlying illness.

Can coronaviruses be transmitted from person to person?

Yes, some coronaviruses can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, in a household workplace, or health care centre.

Is there a treatment for a novel coronavirus?

There is no specific treatment for disease caused by the novel coronavirus yet. However, many of the symptoms can be treated. Therefore, treatment is based on the patient’s clinical condition. In addition, supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.

What can I do to protect myself?

To reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus, members of the public are advised to adhere to the following measures:

• Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water.

• Cover your mouth and nose properly with handkerchief or tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a handkerchief is not available.

• Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

• Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.

• Healthcare workers are always advised to observe standard infection prevention and control measures when attending to patients and take a travel history.

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SOURCE: NCDC, WHO

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