A new virus from China worries health authorities around the world. What are the special features of this coronavirus? And what measures is France putting in place? We take stock.
“2019-nCOV”. This code name is none other than that of a new coronavirus straight from China. If it is worrying, it is because it is at the origin of an epidemic: in the country, 291 new cases have been identified, and the virus has already killed 6 people. But that’s not all: new cases have also just been identified in Thailand, Japan and South Korea.
This mysterious virus is the cause of pneumonia, it is described as a cousin of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). This coronavirus caused nearly 800 deaths worldwide worldwide in 2002.
As human-to-human transmission of the 2019-nCOV virus has been confirmed, vigilance is triggered in France.
Where does this coronavirus come from?
The source of this coronavirus is believed to be animal: its source has been identified as the Huanan South China Seafood Market, a market located in the city of Wuhan, China, in which live animals are sold.
“To date, all of the confirmed cases identified from this episode have stayed in Wuhan,” said Public Health France on its website on January 17.
What are the symptoms of 2019-nCOV virus?
People affected by this virus have symptoms similar to pneumonia, including breathing problems, cough and fever.
The incubation time of the coronavirus being still an unknown data, the experts base themselves on that of the SARS. “The first symptoms appear between the 5th and the 14th day after infection,” says Arnaud Fontanet, virologist at the Pasteur / Cnam institute, in Le Parisien.
Coronavirus: international precautionary measures
There are many doubts about the mode of transmission of the 2019-nCOV virus. But Zhong Nanshan, a member of the National Health Commission, said that human-to-human transmission was “proven”.
This is why many countries are on the alert for a potential global epidemic. In the United States, and more specifically at San Francisco Airport and New York’s JFK, flights from the Chinese city are under surveillance, since temperature checks are carried out on passengers.
Thailand, Hong Kong and Australia have also implemented precautionary measures.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also advises French people traveling to China. He therefore recommends avoiding any contact with living or dead animals, and therefore the markets that sell them, but also avoiding consuming undercooked or undercooked animal products. It is also advisable to avoid contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infection and to wash their hands regularly.
“On returning to France, in case of symptoms of respiratory infection (fever, cough, breathing difficulties), it is recommended to apply the same measures and to call Samu – Center 15 quickly, before any consultation with a general practitioner or in an emergency service “, can be read on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.