Fears increase that the mysterious virus behind the killer epidemic in China could spread as the World Health Organization tells hospitals around the world “to prepare for the cases”
- The World Health Organization has provided hospital assistance in the event of a spread
- The mysterious virus has now affected 41 people in China and one in Thailand
- There is now evidence of human-to-human transmission, WHO said
Fears are growing that the mysterious virus that killed a person and infected dozens in China could spread.
The World Health Organization has now ordered hospitals around the world to prepare for the “possible” event of spreading the infection.
Scientists are baffled by the virus that has never been seen before. So far tests have shown that it is a type of coronavirus.
Forty-one cases have been held in the Chinese city of Wuhan since December. One patient died of pneumonia caused by the virus.
However, the first case identified outside the country in Thailand last week raised concerns that the virus could cross borders.
The woman, a Chinese citizen on vacation in Thailand, triggered a strengthening of airport surveillance.
Although the virus was initially thought to be transmitted by animals, WHO said there is now evidence of human-to-human transmission.
A 61-year-old Chinese woman on vacation in Thailand was hit by the mysterious virus that killed a person and infected dozens in China. It is the first to be diagnosed outside of China and has now returned to stable conditions
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, who heads the WHO’s emerging disease unit, said she had provided hospitals around the world with indications of infection control in the event of a spread.
This includes the potential for “super-spread” in healthcare facilities when some sick patients can transmit the virus dozens at a time.
Discussing the potential spread of the virus, dr. Kerkhove said: “This is something on our radar, it is possible, we must prepare”.
THE NEW CORONIVURI IN CHINA CHRONOLOGY
December 31, 2019: The WHO China Country Office has been informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause found in the city of Wuhan in the Chinese province of Hubei. In December, around 44 suspected cases were reported.
January 1, 2020: A seafood market was closed for sanitation and environmental disinfection after being closely connected with patients.
January 5, 2020: Doctors ruled out severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as the cause of the virus, as well as avian influenza, Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome and adenovirus. Meanwhile, Hong Kong has reported
January 9, 2020: A preliminary investigation identified respiratory disease as a new type of coronavirus, according to Chinese state media.
Officials from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported a 61-year-old man of the first death of the epidemic on January 9.
January 13, 2020: A Chinese woman in Thailand was the first confirmed case of the mysterious virus outside of China. The 61-year-old was quarantined on January 8, but has since returned home in stable condition after receiving treatment, the Thai Ministry of Health said.
January 14, 2020: WHO claims that there is a “limited” transmission of the virus from man to man. Two days earlier, the United Nations agency had stated that “there was no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.”
Some hospitals in China, a tourist hotspot for around 595,000 British tourists each year, have already been directed to report fever cases to anyone who has traveled to Wuhan in the past 14 days. The city is home to 11 million people.
Investigations identified respiratory disease as a new type of coronavirus, which causes cold-like symptoms including runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and fever.
There has been a “limited” transmission of the virus from man to man, WHO said. He took a step back in his January 12 statement when he said there was “no evidence” of this.
It was largely assumed that the virus came from an animal, considering that the majority of the sick worked or visited a fish market in Wuhan.
But since the cases have popped up without any exposure to the food market, there is reason to believe that it can be transferred between humans.
WHO added that cases were mainly observed in small groups among family members, but there is potential for wider dissemination.
A Chinese woman was quarantined in Thailand with the coronavirus, authorities said Monday, the first time she was detected outside of China. She managed to return home on Wednesday in stable conditions.
The news came before a flow of Chinese tourists to Thailand for the lunar new year on January 25th.
Other possible cases emerged in 15 travelers who returned to Hong Kong and following visits to the city in Hubei province. A suspected case has also been reported in Singapore.
It was feared that life-threatening SARS, a highly contagious virus, was behind the flurry of cases in Wuhan.
SARS killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in the early 2000s. But since 2004 there have been no recorded cases worldwide.
But SARS, avian influenza, Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome and adenovirus have been ruled out following investigations, authorities said.