B.C.’s second case of novel coronavirus from China has been confirmed by testing, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.
The patient is a woman in her 50s who lives in the Vancouver Coastal health region, who had contact with visitors from Wuhan, the city in China where the new influenza-like virus was identified. The visitors are still staying with her, Henry said.
Public health officials are following up with “a very small number of close contacts” with the woman after she became ill a few days ago, Henry told reporters Tuesday at a briefing at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Canadian residents from the affected region of China are being flown to Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont. on Thursday, where they will be kept under observation, said Henry, who sits on a national advisory committee.
The Canadian government is responsible for issuing travel advisories, and continues to monitor people arriving from China rather than imposing a travel ban as some other countries have done.
Henry said the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global emergency from the new virus does not change anything for Canada or B.C., which already has the recommended measures in place. It is directed at less developed countries such as India where modern health care is not as widely available, she said.
Health Canada describes typical symptoms of the newly emerged virus “2019-nCOV” as headache, coughing, a sore throat and fever. More serious cases can develop into pneumonia, respiratory failure or kidney failure.
Henry said the best prevention measures include frequent hand washing, covering coughs and remaining at home if flu-like symptoms emerge. Those visiting doctors’ offices or hospitals should wear masks to protect others if possible.
Henry said the new virus is believed to have been transmitted from animals to humans as a result of the large animal and seafood markets in Wuhan, the Chinese city where it was first identified. The intensive measures being taken around the world are to contain and eradicate the strain from the human population.