Low risk of contracting pneumonia virus from China, says Public Health Agency

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A deadly type of pneumonia originating in Wuhan, a city in central China is being monitored by Canada’s Public Health Agency who this week put out a statement that Canadians are at low risk of contracting this type of pneumonia that has killed one person and made dozens sick. As a precaution, they’ve issued a warning to travellers to and from the city of Wuhan to avoid high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets, areas where animals may be slaughtered or surfaces with animal droppings or secretions.

Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam has also been in close contact with provincial and territorial counterparts to share information about the illness, which has sparked concerns over a possible outbreak similar to the SARS virus, which killed hundreds in 2002 and 2003.

The UN World Health Organization said Thai officials have reported that a traveller from Wuhan has been hospitalized in Thailand with the virus — the first confirmed case of the virus found outside China, where a total of 41 people are suffering from this new “coronavirus.”

The outbreak has been traced to Wuhan, where it affected several dozen people who had been to a major meat and seafood market.

Canada’s public health agency says the likelihood of an outbreak in Canada linked to the cases in China is considered low at this time mainly because of the lack of any clear evidence of person-to-person spread. But officials are remaining vigilant.

A statement issued Monday by the WHO said it is working with officials in Thailand and China following the report of the confirmed case outside China. The WHO’s director-general is consulting with the agency’s emergency committee, which generally decides whether viral outbreaks merit an expanded response from health authorities.

Common symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever. Shortness of breath, chills and body aches are associated with more dangerous kinds of coronaviruses, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. -CINEWS

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