Flu Bug Blog

nCoV: From The Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine

There has been a lot of media attention given to the H7N9 outbreak in China.  It seems virtually every day new lab-confirmed cases are being identified.  Now, I’m sure greater attention will also be directed at the novel coronavirus or nCoV. 

Why?  Because Sunday we have received added confirmation that there can be human-to-human transmission with very close contact.  Reuters and WHO confirmed that a 50-year-old who shared a room for a couple of days with a known nCoV patient in France also caught the disease.  The index case fell ill after returning from Dubai.  So far, hospital staff have been tested and have been ruled out.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that includes viruses that may cause a range of illnesses in humans, including SARS (http://www.who.int/csr/disease/coronavirus_infections/en/index.html).  Fortunately, nCoV is not SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) which claimed the lives of 775 people in 2003 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/12/us-coronavirus-france-idUSBRE94A04R20130512).

Here is a summary of what is known about this virus:

* This virus has infected people since 2012 (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAR, Jordan, and  France);

* There have been 34 confirmed cases globally since 2012;

* When people get infected, many of them develop severe pneumonia.

* Most of the persons who have been infected so far have been older men, often with medical co-morbidities;

* It’s unclear how nCoV gets transmitted; infected animals? Contaminated inanimate objects? Infected people?

* There have been clusters reported from a number of countries suggesting that when there is close contact nCoV can transmit from person-to-person;

For more information check out CDC’s nCoV website: http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/ncv/


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About Dr. Paul Rega

Paul Rega is a board-certified physician in Emergency Medicine and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health & Disease Prevention and the Department of Emergency Medicine. A passion in Disaster Medicine has resulted, over the years, in multiple deployments, research and education both nationally and internationally. This has branched out into developing strategies associated with counter-terrorism and pandemics. Currently, Paul is assisting with H1N1 preparedness and response within UT and into the region.




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