Greece’s health authorities have been placed on alert due to the outbreak in Wuhan, central China of a deadly coronavirus which has led to the death of six people and at least 300 infections.
Although the risk of an outbreak of the new virus (2019-nCoV) in Greece is considered low, the National Health Organization (EODY) has preemptively sent out instructions for the early detection of suspicious cases.
“According to current data as well as the guidelines of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the risk of an outbreak is considered low,” EODY said in a statement.
However, EODY stressed that it remains vigilant regarding the risks of potential outbreaks among travelers. To this end, it said that it has already published information and guidelines for travelers, as well as for points of entry into the country and hospitals.
The new virus belongs to the category of coronaviruses that cause the common cold but more serious infections as well. Symptoms of the disease include fever and respiratory problems.
It belongs to the same category as the SARS virus, which appeared in 2002 and was effectively dealt with.
However, it is also in the same category as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), also known as camel flu, which continues to claim lives in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking to Kathimerini, EODY associate and professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the University of Athens Medical School Sotiris Tsiodras said that although the virus is transmitted from human to human the spread is limited and has low mortality compared to MERS.
In its recommendations, EODY said that people traveling to the city of Wuhan in China, where the virus was first detected, should avoid contact with animals (living or dead), animal markets and products of animal origin and wash their hands frequently with water and soap.
If they do show suspicious symptoms on their return, they should stay at home and seek immediate medical care, avoid contact with other people, and cover their mouth and nose with a cloth or their sleeve if they cough or sneeze.