Imported case of novel coronavirus reported Jan. 29 in Rovaniemi, Finland. Patient hospitalized in isolation; risk to public is low.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 29 Jan 2020 20:23 GMT and is scheduled to expire 07 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Novel Coronavirus
  • Location(s): Rovaniemi (map)
  • Period: January 2020
  • Cases (Confirmed): 1 (1)

Summary
Finnish authorities report a single confirmed case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Rovaniemi Jan. 29. The infected individual - who remains hospitalized in isolation for treatment - arrived from Wuhan, China on Jan. 23 and began displaying symptoms Jan. 26. Contact tracing is underway to identify any suspected cases. Risk to the wider public is considered low.

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 3-7 days until symptoms appear. Infected individuals are contagious to others before displaying symptoms. These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to diarrhea, 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. 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

Head back to the Coronavirus Intelligence Alert page.