Additional imported cases of novel coronavirus reported in Taiwan Jan. 28. Risk to wider public is low. Use basic health precautions.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 28 Jan 2020 18:08 GMT and is scheduled to expire 28 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Novel Coronavirus
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Period: January 2020
  • Cases (Confirmed): 8 (8)

Summary
Health authorities in Taiwan reported an additional seven cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Jan. 22-28, bringing the total case count to eight since Jan. 21. The latest confirmed case was a 50-year old male who was hospitalized in isolation for treatment as of Jan. 28. Contact tracing is underway. The risk to the wider public is deemed low, as the infected individual was transferred directly from the airport to the hospital and was never in public.

Background and Analysis
Older individuals and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission is occurring, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people; however, preliminary investigations indicate the course of illness is not as severe as seasonal influenza, nor as contagious.

The incubation period of 2019-nCoV is approximately 1-14 days after exposure, the average being 10 days until symptoms appear. Infected individuals are likely contagious to others before displaying symptoms. These symptoms include fever, fatigue, and cough, sometimes worsening to diarrhea, difficulty breathing, kidney failure, and pneumonia - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Avoid close contact with animals (dead or alive), especially at wet markets. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO advice for international travel