Imported cases of COVID-19 reported in eastern Brazil during late February; confirmed case in Sao Paulo State. Use basic health precautions.

Severity: Warning Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo State
  • Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro State
  • Recife, Pernambuco State
  • Campinas, Sao Paulo State
  • Santos, Sao Paulo State
  • Macae, Rio de Janeiro State
  • Florianopolis, Santa Catarina State
  • Joao Pessoa, Paraiba State
  • Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paulo State
  • Osasco
  • Navegantes, Santa Catarina State
  • Campos dos Goytacazes, Rio de Janeiro Sate
  • Paraty, Rio de Janeiro State
  • Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo State

This alert began 26 Feb 2020 21:26 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Imported cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Location(s): Eastern states (map)
  • Date: February 2020

Summary
Brazilian authorities report a single confirmed case of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Feb. 26 in a traveler returning to Sao Paulo from a recent trip to Lombardy Region in northern Italy, where an outbreak is ongoing. The individual is hospitalized in isolation for treatment. Additional suspected cases in Sao Paulo are being tested.

Suspected cases were also reported in the states of Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Paraiba, Pernambuco, and Santa Catarina. Laboratory tests are pending. It is not known whether any suspected or confirmed cases attended Carnival festivities; investigations and contact tracing are ongoing.

Background and Analysis
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 as seasonal influenza, nor as contagious.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (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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