So far, no cases of the coronavirus have been detected in Barbados.

This was disclosed by the Ministry of Health today in light of reports of novel coronavirus circulating in the Middle East, England and most recently in France from September last year to May 2013. This strain of virus causes severe respiratory illness.

The World Health Organisation has been informed of a global total of 34 laboratory confirmed cases of human infection with novel coronavirus, which include 18 deaths.?? In confirmed cases of coronavirus in humans, common symptoms have been acute, serious respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties.

According to the Ministry: "The surveillance of respiratory illnesses, over the last few weeks, has not detected any increase in levels of respiratory activity above what is expected among community and hospitalised patients." In fact, Adenovirus has been the predominant virus isolated in Barbados during the past month.

The official pointed out that respiratory samples taken from patients at polyclinics, sentinel private sites and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are submitted to two Government labs in the island that have the capacity to detect influenza and other respiratory viruses.

Infection with viral respiratory diseases may be prevented by maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, and getting plenty of rest, as well as managing stress levels.??

Officials are also urging individuals to wash their hands often with soap and water, and if soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitiser should be used.


Author: Theresa Blackman/Ministry of Health

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