South Australians who have recently travelled through China are being made aware of the signs and symptoms of the novel coronavirus that is impacting people overseas.
The Department for Health and Wellbeing’s Communicable Disease and Control Branch Director,
Dr Louise Flood, said while there are no known or confirmed cases in Australia, it is important for people who have travelled to be aware of what to look out for.
“The most consistent symptom of this new strain has been fever, while other symptoms have included difficulty breathing, coughing, head ache, chest discomfort and a sore throat,” Dr Flood said.
“So far there is limited evidence of human-to-human transmission of this new strain of coronavirus.
“Anyone feeling unwell should practise good hygiene, avoid contact with others if you are sick, cover coughs or sneezes, wash hands regularly and wipe down frequently touched surfaces.”
As is the standard process, ill travellers who arrive on an international flight are met on arrival by biosecurity officers, who assess whether a passenger has visited an affected area.
Biosecurity officers work closely with the Department for Health and Wellbeing’s Communicable Disease and Control Branch.
“We have well-established systems in place to respond to outbreaks overseas, and staff across all our hospitals, Primary Health Networks, GPs, and other relevant medical specialists have already been issued with advice on infection control and how to identify this strain of coronavirus,” Dr Flood said.
“It is currently influenza season in the Northern Hemisphere and travellers from overseas are much more likely to have other causes for their respiratory illnesses.”
The Department for Health and Wellbeing is working closely with the Commonwealth Department of Health and health departments in all jurisdictions, who are maintaining a close watch on the outbreak.
There have been over 400 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus overseas however this number is likely to be underestimated.
The majority of cases overseas have been reported in Wuhan, China and other regions.