Imported cases of novel coronavirus reported Jan. 29 in Dubai, UAE. All are hospitalized in isolation; risk to public is low.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 29 Jan 2020 19:37 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Novel Coronavirus
  • Location(s): Dubai (map)
  • Period: January 2020
  • Cases (Confirmed): 4 (4)

Summary
Authorities in the United Arab Emirates report four confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in a family that arrived from Wuhan, China on Jan. 16. The first case began displaying symptoms and sought treatment Jan. 23; the diagnosis was then confirmed but not made public until Jan. 29. Three family members of the first case are also infected; all are hospitalized, likely in Dubai, and in stable condition. 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 10 days until symptoms appear. Infected individuals are likely 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