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Source: United Kingdom – Executive Government & Departments

Studies, published in The Lancet, report on the initial cases of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in china

Prof Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, said:

“This is a useful and important initial summary of the clinical presentation of the early cases. What comes through strongly is that the clinical features and epidemiology of the recent outbreak is very similar to SARS with one big difference –  the relative lack of upper respiratory tract symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat and sneezing compared to what was seen in SARS.  This is very important as sneezes and runny noses are a prime way for people to spread infection.  It is possible that in the absence of such symptoms people early in the stages of the infection will be less infectious. If this is correct, providing people are referred to hospital and nursed using appropriate infection prevention protocols subsequent person to person spread can be reduced.”

Professor Tom Solomon, Director of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging Infections said:

“The early release of these preliminary data from 41 patients is very helpful. Specifically it gives us an indication of the symptoms that patients with the new coronavirus are likely to have. Fever, cough, fatigue and shortness of breath were common (occurring in at least half the patients who needed hospital admission). In contrast of upper respiratory tract symptoms, such as a runny nose and sore throat were not seen. Nor was diarrhoea which affected a quarter of the patients with SARS-Coronavirus. These data, which may help distinguish the new coronavirus from common coughs and colds, will help public health officials guide the public about when they should seek medical help.”


The paper ‘Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China’ by Chaolin Huang et al. was published in The Lancet on Friday 24 January.

DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30183-5


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