Thursday, January 30, 2020

WHO officials to reconvene today to discuss declaring a public health emergency of international concern

WHO officials to reconvene today to discuss declaring a public health emergency of international concern

Dr K K Aggarwal
President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA

1. WHO declined to issue an emergency declaration last week. At that time, there had been roughly 600 cases reported in China and just 17 deaths. 

2. But in the span of a week, Chinese officials report the coronavirus has infected more than 6,000 people with 132 deaths and thousands more suspected cases. The virus has spread to at least 16 countries globally and four states in the U.S., which has five confirmed cases. 

3. There has been person-to-person transmission in three countries outside China, Germany, Japan and Vietnam

i. On 28th Jan the German Health Ministry confirmed a 33-year-old German, had contracted the virus from a Chinese colleague who had visited the company a week ago. Because the incubation period is believed to be unusually long — at up to two weeks — it is possible that the Chinese colleague had no symptoms at the time. On her flight home on 23 Jan, the woman began to fall ill on the plane. She sought medical treatment after landing in China and tested positive for coronavirus. When that information was relayed back to the German company, the 33-year-old also felt like he had flu and was subsequently tested positive for the virus too. Now, 3 more co-workers in Germany of the Chinese woman have been tested positive for the virus too.

ii. A Japanese man with no recent travel to China has contracted the Wuhan virus apparently after driving tourists visiting from Wuhan. The man in his sixties from Nara in western Japan drove two groups of Wuhan tourists earlier in January and was hospitalised on 25 Jan with flu-like symptoms. 

iii. A 65-year-old Chinese man had infected his son in Vietnam. On 22 Jan, the 65-year-old was admitted to Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. He had become ill with fever on 17 Jan, a total of 4 days after he and his wife had flown to Hanoi from Wuhan. The couple’s healthy 27-year-old son had lived in Long An, a province 40 km southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, since October 2019 but had not been to Wuhan or had any known contact with any person returning from there except his parents.

On 17 Jan, he met his father in Nha Trang in central Vietnam and shared a bedroom with his parents for 3 days in a hotel room. On 20 Jan, a dry cough and fever developed in the son. He also reported having had vomiting and loose stools. When the son came to Cho Ray Hospital with his father, he already had a high fever (39°C). Both father and son were warded and subsequently tested positive for the Wuhan virus.

4. The emergency committee meeting will be held Today

5. Most infected patients experience milder symptoms, but about 1 in 5 people have severe illness, including pneumonia and respiratory failure.

6. Coronavirus: Mass Quarantine May Spark Irrational Fear, Anxiety, Stigma

7. There are no signs of illness among the 195 Americans who were flown out of Wuhan, China, on a chartered flight that landed Wednesday in Southern California, public health officials said. All were screened for signs of the new virus — fever, cough and other respiratory symptoms — before boarding the plane in China. One person was not permitted on board because of a fever.

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