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Travel health

21 January 2020

Novel coronavirus (nCoV) - Epidemiological Update January 2020

Since the Epidemiological Alert on the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)  sinceJanuary 20, 2020 four countries have reported to the World Organization Health (WHO) confirmed cases: China (198 cases, including three deaths, 2 cases in Beijing and 1 case in Guandong, all imported from Wuhan), Japan (1 case, imported from Wuhan, China), Thailand (two cases imported from Wuhan, China) and Republic of Korea (1 case imported from Wuhan, China) .

Current evidence suggests that person-to-person transmission is limited, which would be consistent with what is known about other similar pathogens.


However, person-to-person transmission, included in the nosocomial environment, has been documented on a recurring basis for other emerging coronaviruses, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-causing Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).


Therefore, control measures taken for SARS and MERS can guide the response against this new pathogen.


International travelers

Continue to provide travelers, who arrive and leave the country, information that stimulates and facilitates the search for medical attention in the event of presenting a disease before, during, or after an international trip.


Promote, among travelers arriving and leaving the country, good practices and behavior to reduce the overall risk of acute respiratory infections during travel, such as observing the cough label and frequent handwashing.


Specifically, for travelers to the city of Wuhan, it is recommended that they avoid contact with individuals with acute respiratory diseases, as well as with places where farm or wild animals are present, alive or dead.


Also taking into account the celebrations of the Chinese New Year on January 25, 2020, which, in addition to significant internal displacements to China, could also imply variations in the flow of international travelers to and from China


Travelers to Wuhan should:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their healthcare provider.

When traveling, regardless of your destination or physical condition, a consultation with a trained health professional is expected at least 6 weeks before your departure.

Christine Dumontet RN 

President Dumontet CSV and Founder of Travel Health Assist


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