Imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reported Feb. 2020 in Qom, Iran. Risk to public remains low. Use basic health precautions.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 19 Feb 2020 18:42 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Imported cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Location(s): Qom (map)
  • Period: February 2020
  • Cases: 2

Summary
Iranian health officials reported two confirmed imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Feb. 19 in Qom. Both individuals had been hospitalized in isolation for treatment and later died. Details were not published regarding whether these individuals had underlying medical conditions. Risk to the wider public remains low.

Background and Analysis
Authorities may identify additional imported cases in the coming days or weeks, as well as limited human-to-human transmission among close contacts of these imported cases. 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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