CHSO issues advisory on new virus in peak season
As governments and health authorities from around the world try to contain the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (2019nCOV), the City Health Services Office has issued an advisory as part of the preparedness and response to the upsurge of visitors due to the upcoming festivities in the city.
The CHSO has not documented any suspected case of the 2019nCOV (also called Wuhan virus) but as precautionary measure, the public is advised to observe good personal hygiene at all times, and practice frequent handwashing especially after coughing, sneezing, using the toilet, before handling food, and after contact with patients.
The public is also advised to avoid close contact with persons suffering from respiratory infections, avoid crowded places if one becomes ill, wear a mask if with cough and colds, maintain other health habits such as balanced diet, physical activity, and get enough sleep to strengthen resistance against viruses.
People who have fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, and who have a history of travel for the past two weeks should seek immediate medical consult.
Health experts are still tracing the origins of the new coronavirus, which started in Wuhan City, Hubei province of China.
Common symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath.
CHSO OIC Celia Flor Brillantes said in severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and even death.
Other countries with confirmed 2019nCOV cases are United States, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and France. So far, more than 900 confirmed cases have been recorded, globally.
In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced Saturday that the five-year-old whom health experts were monitoring as a suspect 2019nCoV case tested negative, following confirmatory test done by the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia.
The case was earlier referred to the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of Central Visayas Center for Health Development after the patient manifested fever, throat irritation, and cough prior to entering the Philippines.
The patient traveled from Wuhan, China to Cebu City, last Jan. 12.
The patient earlier tested negative for MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. However, the samples taken from the patient tested positive for the non-specific pancoronavirus assay, prompting doctors to send the patient’s oropharyngeal and serum specimens to Australia to identify the specific coronavirus strain.
Sec. Francisco Duque assured the DOH is on top of the emerging health event. He said the agency will continue to monitor the situation and ensure mechanisms to contain the threat of the 2019-nCoV.
He said the Bureau of Quarantine continues to work closely with airlines and airport authorities for stricter border surveillance. DOH has also activated its emergency response and continues to strengthen national-level preparedness, heighten community surveillance, enhance case management and hospital readiness, and intensify information dissemination and community engagement. – Rimaliza A. Opiña