Hyderabad: The 2019-nCOV coronavirus has kept city epidemiologists on their toes as they track the travel history of those returning from China while targeting medical students from Wuhan.
Initial reports indicate some medical students from Wuhan have returned to both Telugu states but none have reported to any hospital. “Students came for the winter break before the outbreak,” health department sources said. “We have to keep a tab on those who travelled from China in the past 15 days.”
It is cumbersome but hospitals have been put on alert. Diagnostic tests for swine flu will now be used for 2019-nCOV. “There is no other test,” said a senior health official.
“This is the only way to determine the virus. Throat swabs will be tested to confirm the disease.”
China also used throat swabs to identify the disease, and the results show-ed that the viruses that cause seasonal influenza, avian influenza, adenovi-rus, severe acute respiratory syndrome associated coronavirus and Middle East Respiratory syndrome coronavirus were ruled out.
Travellers are suspected carriers: Experts
Doctors keeping up with the medical literature and treatment modules find that lower respiratory tract specimen must also be collected. In some cases urine, stool, serum and respiratory pathology specimens have also been collected.
Epidemiologists are doubly worried as there is mild swine flu virus active locally. “We have a virus in the air that can cause respiratory infections though cases have been mild and less this year,” said a senior health official. “But the entry of novel coronavirus is a risk factor for co-infection. We are looking at measures for containment. Presently, travellers are ‘suspected carriers’ and they have to be checked and the asymptomatic have to be counselled.”
A Hong Kong to Hyderabad flight, slated for midnight, is keeping them on their toes.