St. Maarten Public Health monitoring novel coronavirus infection


~ Family physicians alerted ~

PHILIPSBURG--The Health Ministry's Section General Public Health (SGPH) is monitoring information from the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Global Alert and Response (GAR) system, with respect to novel coronavirus infection that was discovered recently in the United Kingdom (UK).

Local family physicians have also been alerted by Epidemiologist Izzy Gerstenbluth as to to the case definition for case finding.

On September 22, the UK informed WHO of a case of acute respiratory syndrome with travel history to Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The case is a previously healthy, 49-year-old male that presented with symptoms on September 3. On September 7, he was admitted to an intensive care unit. As of September 25, no additional cases of acute respiratory syndrome with renal failure due to infection with a novel coronavirus have been reported to the WHO.

WHO is continuing investigations into two recently confirmed infections identified as a novel coronavirus.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which includes viruses that cause the common cold and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). This week the WHO issued an interim case definition to help countries strengthen health protection measures against the new virus.

The case definition, based on the cases so far, includes criteria for identifying a "patient under investigation," a "probable case," and a "confirmed case." These criteria are based on clinical, epidemiological and laboratory indicators.
International efforts are being stepped up across all six WHO regions throughout the world to ensure an appropriate and effective response with a WHO specialist team in daily contact with more than a dozen international and regional technical partners.