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Health

Web Desk
January 22, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak in China: Pakistan issues health advisory

Health

Web Desk
Wed, Jan 22, 2020
NIH advised health staff to take precautions in light of the recent outbreak of the coronavirus in China. — Photo: CNN

The National Institute of Health (NIH) advised health staff on Tuesday to take safety measures in light of the recent outbreak of the coronavirus in China and neighbouring states.

The institute directed health officials to investigate a person who may have travelled to Wuhan or any other affected area of China within the last 15 days. It also directed the officials to investigate anyone who may be suffering from severe acute respiratory infections (SARI).

Symptoms of the deadly virus ranged from a history of fever, to coughing or difficulty breathing, the NIH said. The advisory maintained that health officials investigate anyone who may have had “close physical contact with a suspected or confirmed case”.

It instructed officials to probe anyone who may have had "direct contact with infected animals, seafood, meat or any other animal products in the markets of Wuhan City China, within 14 days before the onset of illness”.

NIH said that the health facilities should follow the same precautions that doctors follow during “seasonal influenza” if they come across such a case. The NIH asked hospitals to “ensure that standard precautions including hand and respiratory hygiene are being followed by using personal protective equipment”.

The institute also instructed doctors to cover their nose and mouth while they may be examining such a person. It emphasised on maintenance of hand hygiene after contact with respiratory secretions. The NIH notified the health facilities to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.

The institute, in the advisory, clarified that as of yet no vaccine or specific treatment is available for the infection. “The patient care is mainly supportive,” read the advisory.

The UN’s health agency says the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan is a never-before-seen strain. It belongs to a broad family of viruses that range from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as SARS.

Whats is the coronavirus?

The mysterious SARS-like virus has so far killed nine people and continues to infect hundreds could spread further, Chinese authorities warned on Wednesday ahead of the Lunar New Year travel season.

The virus has already reached the United States while the other neighbouring countries have issued strict travel alerts to contain the spread.

The coronavirus has caused alarm for its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

The UN’s health agency says the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan is a never-before-seen strain. It belongs to a broad family of viruses that range from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as SARS.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says an "animal source seems the most likely primary source... with some limited human-to-human transmission occurring between close contacts".