Washington, January 17, 2020 (PAHO)— The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) has issued an alert to its member countries on the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV), recommending that “health care workers have access to up to date information on the illness, be familiar with the principles and procedures for handling nCoV infections, and be trained to inquire about a patient’s travel history in order to connect this information with clinical data.”
Although over 40 cases have been reported in China, Thailand and Japan, there is “no evidence to suggest that person-to-person transmission occurs easily,” the alert said.
It suggests national authorities “review the actions considered in response to the spread of SARS CoV in 2003, adapting and / or adopting those that are proportionate to the current risk.”
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that 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). A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
PAHO/WHO encourage its Member States to strengthen surveillance activities to detect any unusual respiratory health event and will closely monitor the epidemiological evolution of the situation, providing more detailed guidance when available.
PAHO/WHO does not recommend any screening at entry points regarding this event, nor any restrictions on travel or trade.