The new killer virus that has emerged in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, having caused three deaths to date and four cases in Norway, is being monitored closely by the World Health Organization, which has decided to set up a revised case definition for health authorities to report cases within 24 hours.
The WHO statement refers to two laboratory confirmed cases on Novel coronavirus, however a third case has been reported and a cluster of four probable cases have been reported in Norway, while the UK's Health Protection Agency states that "a further small number of possible cases are also being investigated".
"At this point it is not clear whether these cases are typical of infection with this virus or whether it could be circulating more widely, but causing a milder illness, and only very rarely causing a severe illness," the HPA continues.
The system set up by the WHO to monitor the situation classifies the suspected cases as Patient Under Investigation, these being those who present the following symptoms:
"A person with an acute respiratory infection, which may include fever (≥ 38°C , 100.4°F) and cough; AND
suspicion of pulmonary parenchymal disease (e.g. pneumonia or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)) based on clinical or radiological evidence of consolidation; AND
travel to or residence in an area where infection with novel coronavirus has recently been reported or where transmission could have occurred;* AND
not already explained by any other infection or aetiology, including all clinically indicated tests for community-acquired pneumonia according to local management guidelines".
These patients will be tested regularly and if the disease is unexplained, specimens will be sent to laboratories for investigation. National Health Authorities are to contact the WHO Regional Offices and infection control measures will be put into place around the patients while case contact management programs are activated.
The WHO is looking for the onset of symptoms within 10 days of contact with an infected person
not already explained by any other infection or aetiology, including all clinically indicated tests for community-acquired pneumonia according to local management guidelines.
WHO requests that probable and confirmed cases be reported within 24 hours of being classified as such, through the regional focal point for International Health Regulations at the appropriate WHO Regional Office.
Once again, measures which come under the label of observation, and information, like when in 2009 the WHO informed the world's population about the A H1N1 outbreak in Mexico all the way until it became a pandemic.
When is the WHO going to wake up and practice some preventive measures, especially since mother nature is trying as hard as it can to come up with the Big One, something like Spanish Flu? The answer is, probably when it is too late.
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