First imported case of COVID-19 reported March 6 in Bogota, Colombia. Risk to public remains low. Use basic health precautions.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 06 Mar 2020 21:42 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Imported case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
  • Location(s): Bogota (map)
  • Date: March 6
  • Impact: Increased health precautions

Summary
Government officials confirmed the first imported case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Bogota, Colombia, March 6. The victim had recently traveled to Milan, Italy, and returned to Colombia on March 2. This represents the first known confirmed case of the disease in Colombia. Health officials in South America have also confirmed cases in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Ecuador. The risk to the wider public remains low.

Authorities said they are monitoring 16 other people who were in contact in recent days with the person with the confirmed case of COVID-19.

Background and Analysis
Additional cases may be identified in the coming weeks as elevated disease surveillance continues. Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - 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. 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

WHO coronavirus knowledge base


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