The first case of a new virus has been reported in North America, raising fears about another global illness.
According to a report in The New York Times, a man in his 30s has been diagnosed with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), a disease first witnessed in Wuhan, China. The man, a resident of Snohomish County, Washington returned from Wuhan on January 15th, 2020.
He alerted health officials of his condition and travel history on January 19th and has since been hospitalized.
This news follows reports from China that the virus has killed six people and infected over 200 more. Outside reports estimate the true numbers may be higher, though, according to the Times.
Here at home, Health Canada has been updating an advisory for the Novel Coronavirus, but the organization — and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam — says that the risk to Canadians travelling to Wuhan is low.
Based on the latest information, the risk to Canadians of the #coronavirus is low. The #GoC, provinces & territories have multiple systems in place to identify, prevent & control the spread of infectious diseases
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) January 20, 2020
“The Public Health Agency of Canada is actively monitoring the situation and working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international partners to gather additional information,” the Health Canada’s website states. “Our recommendations may change as new information becomes available.”
The respiratory disease was first reported on December 31st, 2019. Symptoms have included fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Origins of the Coronavirus
According to Health Canada, most cases come from a seafood market in the city of Wuhan. The market has been closed for cleaning and disinfection as of January 1, 2020. The source of the virus, however, is still unknown.
With travel to the region expected to spike during Chinese New Year, which begins on January 25th, Health Canada has released basic guidelines for anyone visiting Wuhan.
They recommend washing hands often, practicing proper sneeze and cough etiquette, and reporting any sickness immediately.
“If you become sick when you are travelling or after your return, avoid contact with others except to see a health care professional,” Health Canada advises.
“Tell them your symptoms, where you have been travelling or living, [or] if you have had contact with animals … or close contact with a sick person.”