Single imported case of novel coronavirus in Taiwan remains hospitalized Jan. 23. Risk to wider public is low. Use basic health precautions.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 23 Jan 2020 20:49 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Health authorities in Taiwan reported a single case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) late January in an individual who arrived from Wuhan, mainland China, on Jan. 21. The individual remains hospitalized in isolation for treatment as of Jan. 23. Risk to wider public is considered low; the individual was taken directly from the airport to a hospital and was never in public.

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.

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.

WHO advice for international travel