Coronavirus Update: Kerala on alert after China returned medical student tested positive
Thrissur: After a China returned female medical college student, was tested positive for the deadly Coronavirus; a high-level medical team, headed by Health Minister KK Shailaja is closely monitoring and taking necessary steps to prevent its outbreak. The condition of the patient is reported to be stable as of now.
The student was shifted to the special isolation ward at the medical college from the Government general hospital on the advice of the medical board for better treatment. The Minister, along with senior medical officers rushed to Thrissur from Thiruvananthapuram, following the confirmation of the deadly virus to the student who had returned recently from Wuhan University of China.
The medical college authorities had set up the isolation ward with five doctors and 30 other medical staffs.
"The patient who had returned from Wuhan (China) and had tested positive for coronavirus is stable. She will be shifted to Thrissur Medical College from Thrissur General Hospital," the minister had said earlier. "Another person has been admitted to Thrissur General Hospital with symptoms of coronavirus. 15 persons are under surveillance in the State. Of these, nine are in isolation wards and the rest are being monitored at home," she added.
The central government has also issued a travel advisory, asking people to refrain from travelling to China.
In addition, the thermal screening facilities, as a precautionary measure, have been extended to 21 airports now, including Gaya, Guwahati, Vizag, Varanasi, and Goa.
The deadly virus has so far claimed 213 lives in China.
Travel advisory to travellers visiting China:
Travellers to China should follow simple public health measures at all times as under:
- Observe good personal hygiene
- Practice frequent handwashing with soap
- Follow respiratory etiquettes - cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness, such as cough, runny nose etc.
- Avoid contact with live animals and consumption of raw/undercooked meats
- Avoid travel to farms, live animal markets or where animals are slaughtered
- Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose
All travellers to China (in particular Wuhan city) to monitor their health closely.
If you feel sick and have fever and cough:
- Cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing
- Don't plan travels if sick
- Seek medical attention promptly
If you feel sick on flight, while traveling back to India:
- Inform the airlines crew about illness
- Seek mask from the airlines crew
- Avoid close contact with family members or fellow travelers
- Follow the directions of airline crew while disembarking
If you feel sick on flight or at the time of disembarkation:
- Report to airport health authorities/immigration
- Follow the direction of the airport health officer
If you feel sick within a span of one month after return from China
- Report the illness to the nearest health facility and also inform the treating doctor regarding your travel history.
Following is the information on how the disease spreads and what the symptoms are.
The coronavirus (CoV) is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus that has killed four people in China is a novel strain not seen before.
Common symptoms of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) strain, which has infected more than 300 people since the outbreak in Wuhan in December, include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
According to the WHO, the CoV is a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
"Initial available data indicates that the novel Coronavirus-2019 (2019-nCoV) appears to cause less mortality than SARS CoV and MERS CoV. The disease manifestation ranges from asymptomatic to severe," G Arunkumar, director of the Manipal Institute of Virology, told PTI.
"As per the available limited information, initial transmission appears to be zoonotic origin, though the source is yet be identified. There is report of human to human transmission in the press but needs to be confirmed by authentic sources," he said.
The discovery of a novel strain of the virus in China has compelled nations to quarantine passengers from the country and issue travel advisories, while prompting the WHO to convene an emergency meet on the matter.
Countries around the world have sounded an alert following the confirmation of the first case of human-to-human transmission of the deadly infectious disease.
Cases have been detected in Thailand, Japan and South Korea.
India has instructed screening of travellers from China at airports in Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata via thermal scanners.
The Emergency Committee on the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) will ascertain whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage it, WHO tweeted on Tuesday ahead of the meeting.
How are coronoviruses spread?
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people, according to the WHO.
Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
On December 31, 2019, the WHO China Country Office was informed of mysterious cases of pneumonia detected in Wuhan City in China's Hubei Province.
The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the causative agent by Chinese authorities on January 7.
The WHO has offered guidance to countries on how they can prepare for it, including monitoring the sick, and treating patients.
This includes protocols for testing samples, treating patients, controlling infection in health centres, maintaining the right supplies, and communicating with the public about this new virus.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
The viruses can also spread by touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands, the CDC said.
In pregnant women, the more severe versions of MERS and SARS coronaviruses can be serious. According to a case study published in 2014 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, a woman infected with MERS had a stillbirth.
Till date, there is no vaccine to protect against this family of viruses.
However, based on currently available information, the WHO does not recommend any restriction on travel or trade.
Countries are encouraged to continue strengthening their preparedness for health emergencies in line with the international health regulations, the WHO said in a statement.
It said standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
WHO also advises that people should avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.