Imported cases of novel coronavirus reported Jan. 27 in Toronto, Canada. Individuals isolated for treatment. Risk to wider public is low.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 27 Jan 2020 23:32 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Novel Coronavirus
  • Location(s): Toronto (map)
  • Period: January 2020
  • Cases (Confirmed): 2 (2)

Summary
Canadian authorities reported two confirmed cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) early Jan. 27 in individuals who arrived from Wuhan, China. Both are in isolation for treatment. Risk to the wider public is deemed 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 illness is not as contagious as seasonal influenza, nor as severe.

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, and cough, sometimes worsening to diarrhea, difficulty breathing, 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.