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01 Feb 2020 | 02:45 AM UTC

Spain: Health officials confirm first case of novel coronavirus January 31 /update 1

First case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is confirmed in the Canary Islands on January 31; further spread of the virus possible in the near term

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Event

The National Center for Microbiology (CNM) confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in La Gomera, (Canary Islands) on Friday, January 31. The patient was in contact with an infected patient in Germany prior to traveling to La Gomera. Four others were taken into the hospital for observation on the island.

Further international spread of 2019-nCoV is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan. Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in more than 20 countries and territories worldwide. Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in Germany, Japan, the US, and Vietnam. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak is a "public health emergency of international concern."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries and consider rebooking options, if needed, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

  • Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
  • Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
  • Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
  • Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments
  • Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spreading the disease.