I wish to bring to the attention of the general public that several cases of the disease due to the coronavirus on February 26, 2020 have been identified in France.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.


These are those of an infectious viral disease like the flu, often with pharyngeal or respiratory signs evoking angina, flu and difficulty breathing. Most often an episode of fever is present. The relatively rare complications of the infection will more often affect people over the age of 60, especially if they have chronic illnesses or a weakening of their immunity whatever the causes (diseases, treatments). Symptoms usually appear after a few days in the so-called incubation period. This is 14 days maximum even if the symptoms appear quickly. During this period, any infected person can infect others.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

The people concerned

First and foremost, these are people who have been able to meet other infected people in countries, regions or communities already known (in addition to China, around 30 countries have registered cases of coronavirus disease). Travelers returning from these areas should be particularly attentive to all signs, even minor ones, which may suggest possible contamination.

In certain countries including Italy, contamination is possible locally, by being in contact with people who do not return from known risk areas. It is this evolution which explains in particular the difference between the presence of a “cluster”, that is to say a small number of people who could have been identified as having been in contact with a traveler returning from a known risk area, and an outbreak. In this second scenario, everyone is likely to present the signs of the disease and contaminate their immediate environment (proximity is necessary, the virus being transmitted by sneezing, direct contact or via objects that may have been affected).

Standard recommendations

 To prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. Even in the absence of containment measures, and if you are in the category of users and patients at risk of presenting a severe form of COVID-19 disease, it is recommended to stay at home, limit outings, avoid using public transport and frequenting places that gather large numbers of people, let alone crowds (sporting events for example). The wearing of a mask (type FPP2) can also be cited.

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