Epidemiological alert: Coronavirus 2019

The virus

Coronavirus are a large family of viruses. Some of them can 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)



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. (1)


Today´s situation

On December 31st, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of the detection of pneumonia cases of unknown etiology in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. In the following days, the causative microorganism was isolated, identifying a new type of coronavirus: 2019-nCoV. Simultaneously, it was determined that the cases were associated with a maritime products market located in Wuhan (2).

Subsequently, new cases have been identified in different cities and countries, all with a history of travel to China. In this situation, it is necessary that the health team be focused to the detection of possible suspicious cases (1).

Suspected cases include any person suffering from acute respiratory illness of any level of severity, who in the previous 14 days prior the beginning of symptoms, had visited a city with confirmed cases caused by the virus, or without the antecedent of travelling but having had contact with a confirmed case of the virus.

If you find yourself in this group and start having fever or showing respiratory signs, disregarding the severity of such, you must pay a visit to your Doctor, and if possible avoid consulting at Emergency Room.


Exposure areas

• China (Hong Kong and Macao inlcuded).

• Singapur.

• South Corea.

• Lombardia Italian regions (Milán region), Venece (Venece region).

• Irán.


Awareness and Prevention

The coronavirus is transmitted between 2 people with close contact of less than 2 meters through drops that come into contact with the mouth and nose. They are inhaled into the lungs or contaminate proximate surfaces that pass into other people's hands.

•  In 80% of cases, the disease is mild, even asymptomatic, and the recovery lasts 14 days, and it is not necessary to go to healthcare centers.

• The most vulnerable people concerning the virus are those who suffer from lung, cardiovascular, diabetes, immunosuppressed diseases.

For all this, we recommend: To the traveler who returns to the country (mainly from the most affected countries)

•  Stay at home as much as possible for 15 days (until symptoms are ruled out).

•  Avoid crowds.

•  Do good hand washing at home and keep surfaces clean.

•  Do not share table ware and mate.

•  Aerate environments regularly.

•  Avoid greeting with hug, kiss and hand.

•  Control body temperature.

•  Control the appearance of respiratory infection symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, etc.).

•  Use a surgical mask only in case of symptoms.

•  Wash your hands regularly or use an alcohol-based solution.

•  Avoid all contact with people with chronic diseases.

•  In case of presenting the referred symptoms, contact your GP and stay at home.

For prevention in the community and personal protection

•  Avoid greeting with hug, kiss and hand.

•  Do nor go to crowd places.

•  Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially if visiting public places, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

•  Do not share utensils and mate.

•  Bring alcohol gel (65 to 95%) and rub your hands until dry.

•  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth if you have not previously washed your hands.

•  Use face masks only to care for a sick patient with Covid 19.

•  Frequently clean surfaces that are touched daily: tables, latches, keys, cell phones, bathrooms, taps, sinks (with alcohol gel or any common detergent).

 In case of symptoms (fever, dry cough, discomfort)


•  Consult a home doctor or UCM in case of risk patients.

•  Ask for information by phone or digital ways.

•  Wear masks to avoid infecting others.

•  Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and correct disposal of disposable tissues.

To face this pandemic in the best possible way, we must calm down, collaborate and become aware of the general measures recommended to take care of ourselves.

Information provided by Health Ministry / Epidemiology Division, Health Surveillance Department

 (1) Worls Health Organization. WHO | Coronavirus infections [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 Jan 22]. Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/mers-cov/en/ (2) World Health Organization (WHO). Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Situation Report - 1. 21 January 2020. 2020. p. 1–5.


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