Possible outbreak of deadly coronavirus in Torrevieja

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Torrevieja investigates possible case of coronavirus
Torrevieja investigates possible case of coronavirus

  • Two Icelandic nationals on holiday in Pilar de la Horadada and who previously travelled to Wuhan (China) have been admitted to the University Hospital in Torrevieja

The University Hospital of Torrevieja investigating a possible case of coronavirus. The hospital has activated the protocol for the suspicion of  a possible case of coronavirus after two people, both Icelandic nationals holidaying in Pilar de la Horadada,  were placed in isolation  on Monday afternoon.

The pair are a 52-year-old man and a 66-year-old woman who had previously been in Wuhan where the outbreak of the coronavirus was triggered. Only one of them is said to have symptoms but the protocol requires that all family members should also be isolated. The hospital has sent samples to the Carlos III Institute, a Spanish public health research centre in Madrid, to test the samples taken. The results will be known shortly.

The Ministry of Health has instructed the emergency departments of all hospitals on how to act in a case of a patient arriving who is suspected of contracting the Chinese coronavirus, which has already caused over 100 deaths and infected 3,000 people.

The protocol introduces similar measures for the protection of health personnel to those adopted during the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic, and which includes the use of waterproof suits and special protective glasses to prevent contagion through, for example, the patient’s sneezing, since the main path of infection are the drops that are emitted when coughing, sneezing or speaking.

The measures will be implemented if a patient with a fever and respiratory symptoms arrives who has travelled to the Wuhan area within 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms or who has been in close contact with such an individual or with a confirmed case of the disease.

Blood samples and respiratory secretions are then sent to Madrid, the National Centre for Microbiology, where they are analysed. Health centres should all have specific areas of isolation, both for suspicious cases and those that are confirmed who must then be hospitalised.

In the event that a patient is confirmed to have the disease, Health will keep their relatives under close surveillance for two weeks to check possible further development.

The Ministry of Interior has also issued a series of recommendations to avoid possible contagion among National Police agents who are in border posts. Among them, the use of single-use nitrile gloves during baggage inspection or documentation checks. Also they are recommended to use face masks during the documentation control of all passengers from any city in China or from affected areas.

As with any other respiratory infections, older people suffering from underlying diseases are the most vulnerable against the new coronavirus, according to Eva López, from the HLA Vistahermosa clinic in Alicante. According to López, the main alarm in this case is that it is a new virus for which there is no specific treatment, “you can only address the complications caused by the disease,” she said.

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