Single imported case of COVID-19 identified in Mexico City Feb. 28. Patient receiving treatment in isolation. Risk to wider public is low.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 28 Feb 2020 21:08 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Imported case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
  • Location(s): Mexico City (map)
  • Period: February 2020
  • Cases: 1

Summary
Mexican health officials reported the first imported case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Feb. 28 in Mexico City. The individual had recently returned from a trip to Italy, where an outbreak is ongoing. The infected individual is receiving treatment in isolation, and all close contacts are being monitored for symptoms according to protocol. Risk to the wider public remains low.

Background and Analysis
Imported cases of this disease are expected by health authorities as disease surveillance continues globally. 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.

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

Return to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Intelligence Hub >>