Caribbean urged to strengthen surveillance activities as more deaths recorded from new virus

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Caribbean urged to strengthen surveillance activities as more deaths recorded from new virus

Monday, January 20, 2020

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is urging member states, including those in the Caribbean, to strengthen surveillance activities to detect any unusual respiratory health event as the number of people infected with a new virus in China tripled over the weekend.

In addition, PAHO/WHO said it is not recommending any screening at entry points regarding this event, nor any restrictions on travel or trade.

There are now more than 200 cases, mostly in Wuhan, though the respiratory illness has also been detected in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Three people have died and Japan, Thailand and South Korea have reported cases.

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”.

It said that while cases have been reported in China, Thailand and Japan, there is “no evidence to suggest that person-to-person transmission occurs easily,” and suggests that 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 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).


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