Imported cases of COVID-19 identified across Mexico during early March. Risk to wider public is low.

Severity: Informational Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Mexico City
  • Mazatlan
  • San Cristobal de las Casas
  • Monclova
  • Acuna
  • Torreon
  • Culiacan
  • Saltillo
  • Tuxtla Gutierrez

This alert began 03 Mar 2020 09:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
  • Location(s): Mexico City, and states of Coahuila, Chiapas, and Sinaloa (map)
  • Period: February-March 2020
  • Cases: 5

Summary
Mexican health officials reported an additional four imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Feb. 29-March 2, bringing the total case count to five since Feb. 28. Cases have been reported in Mexico City (2) and in Coahuila (1), Chiapas (1), and Sinaloa (1) states. The individuals had recently returned from a trip to Italy, where an outbreak is ongoing. The infected individuals are receiving treatment in isolation, and all close contacts are being monitored for symptoms according to protocol. The risk to the wider public remains low. This information represents the most recent data as of March 3.

Background and Analysis
Imported cases of this disease are expected by health authorities as disease surveillance continues globally. 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. Preliminary investigations indicate the course of illness is not as severe nor as contagious as seasonal influenza.

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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