On December 31, 2019, the WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) was identified as the causative virus by Chinese authorities on January 7, 2020.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are ‘enveloped viruses’ belonging to the subfamily Coronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae 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).
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
- the air by coughing and sneezing
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
- rarely, fecal contamination
There are currently no vaccines available to protect against human coronavirus infection. WHO’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are as follows, which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
- When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals
- The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
PROPER HAND HYGIENE
It is important to note that under Health Canada regulations, it is prohibited to discuss or promote antiviral claims for hand sanitizers or hand cleansers in Canada without agency approval. SC Johnson Professional hand sanitizers and hand cleansers have not been tested against this strain of coronavirus.
Download a PDF version here: Technical Bulletin