Several countries in sub-Saharan Africa report COVID-19 cases in select areas since late February. Maintain basic health precautions.

Severity: Informational Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • South Africa

This alert began 06 Mar 2020 01:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 28 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
  • Location(s): Select locations in Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa (map)
  • Period: February-March 2020

Summary
Several countries in sub-Saharan Africa report imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Test results are pending in additional suspected cases, some of which will likely be confirmed. As of March 5, the following countries have identified COVID-19 cases:

Imported cases only:

  • Nigeria: 1 case in Lagos State
  • Senegal: 4 cases in Dakar
  • South Africa: 1 case in KwaZulu-Natal



Background and Analysis
Health authorities expect imported cases of the disease as surveillance continues globally. Additional countries and territories may be added. 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 is occurring, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (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

WHO: Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19

US CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers


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