South Africans urged to get flu vaccine amid Coronavirus outbreak


So far, no cases have been reported in South Africa and the rest of the African continent.

What is the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV,)

  • ‘Novel’ means that it has not been previously identified in humans and Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
  • The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV,) is a new strain of a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe acute respiratory diseases. 
  • This virus has been identified as the cause of the outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. 
  • Although many of the patients had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, which indicates that person-to-person spread is occurring.

Human coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • the air by coughing and sneezing.
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
  • touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

Signs and symptoms
For confirmed 2019-nCoV infections:

  • Reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little or  no symptoms to people being severely ill and even dying.
  • Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  • Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure.

Prevention and reducing exposure
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your flexed elbow or a tissue if you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough.
  • Seek medical care early and share your previous travel history with your healthcare provider, especially if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
  • When visiting animal markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
  • Avoid the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.
  • Avoid travel if you have a fever and cough. 
  • If you become sick while using public transport, inform the personnel and seek medical care early.

Travelling to countries with reported confirmed cases

  • World Health Organization (WHO) have not recommended travel or trade restrictions with China based on the information currently available. They advise that measures to limit the risk of exportation or importation of the disease should be implemented, without unnecessary restrictions of international traffic.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding non-essential travel to China and that the necessary precautionary measures should apply during travel.

Dealing with suspected cases
Any person with the following risk factors should be investigated and tested for 2019-nCoV:

  • Respiratory illness or exposure to patients with severe acute respiratory infections, unless another cause has been identified to explain the clinical presentation.
  • A documented travel history to Wuhan, Hubei Province in China within 14 days before symptom onset.
  • Close physical contact with a confirmed patient with 2019-nCoV while they are symptomatic.
    This includes the following:
    • Providing direct care for 2019-nCoV patients
    • Being exposed to healthcare workers infected with 2019-nCoV
    • Visiting patients or staying in the same close environment as someone infected with 2019-nCoV
    • Working in close proximity to someone infected with 2019-nCoV
    • Sharing the same classroom environment with someone infected with 2019-nCoV
    • Travelling with someone infected with 2019-nCoV in any mode of transport
    • Living in the same household as someone infected with nCoV
    • Exposure to a healthcare facility in a country where hospital-associated 2019-nCoV infections have been reported

South Africans are urged to get flu vaccine amid Coronavirus outbreak

Has flu become old news, has familiarity bred indifference, while viruses named after foreign places such as Wuhan – inspire terror? It’s new, it’s mysterious and comes from an exotic place and the coronavirus has created extreme anxiety worldwide and in South Africa.

While international concern and the considerable media coverage of the Wuhan flu-like coronavirus is justified as it’s likely behaviour is largely unknown, it is worth knowing that influenza or flu, which is well-understood:

  • Results in an estimated 11,800 seasonal influenza-associated deaths annually in South Africa, with an annual estimate of 47,000 episodes of influenza-associated severe acute respiratory illness.
  • Global Research reported that there are five million cases of flu worldwide and 650,000 deaths annually, making seasonal flu a serious concern.
  • That millions of people have or die annually from flu suggests that people aren’t afraid of the flu, perhaps because they are inured to the yearly warnings.
  • Approximately one million doses of influenza vaccine are available in the private sector annually, and about the same number of doses in the public sector.
  • Yearly vaccination remains insufficient to cover the recommended risk groups – pregnant women, children younger than five, the elderly and HIV-infected individuals – estimated to be over 20 million individuals
  • Vaccination guidelines are revised annually, and influenza vaccination is recommended for all, and in particular, groups at increased risk of influenza-associated severe illness, with the highest priority given in recent years to pregnant women and HIV-infected individuals.

Manor Medical Doctors, Manor Medical Vitality Wellness Centre and Manor Medical Travel Clinic will commence giving flu injection as soon as the vaccine becomes available.

For further information and advanced bookings 
call Sr Christine: 010 072 5999 or 082 771 2402

Published on February 13, 2020