Single imported case of novel coronavirus reported in France Jan. 24. Individual isolated in hospital. Risk to public is low.

 

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 24 Jan 2020 23:42 GMT and is scheduled to expire 29 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Novel Coronavirus
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Period: January 2020
  • Cases (Confirmed): 1 (1)

Summary
Health authorities in France reported a single case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Jan. 24 in an individual who arrived from Wuhan, China. The individual is hospitalized in isolation. Details are not readily available regarding when and where the individual arrived in France. Contact tracing is underway. Additional cases may be reported in the coming weeks; the individual initially evaded health screening checkpoints by taking fever-reducing medication. However, risk to the wider public is currently deemed to be 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 has been confirmed by Chinese health authorities, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people. Some reports suggest conjunctivitis (reddening associated with infection or irritation of the eye) may be an early symptom of 2019-nCoV and that respiratory droplets from infected individuals may infect others via contact with the mucous membrane of the eye. Investigations into transmission and disease modeling are ongoing. The reported clinical signs and symptoms of 2019-nCoV infection are primarily fever, cough, chills, and difficulty breathing.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Additionally, avoid close contact with animals (dead or alive), and 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.