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Five coronavirus suspects test negative



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By Arpana Adhikari

Kathmandu, Feb. 2: Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital (STIDH) Teku on Saturday assured that a patient suspected with novel coronavirus infection tested negative. Of the six cases so far, only one tested positive. 

A resident of Dharan-11 was admitted at the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences on Thursday following high fever and sore throat. As the Dharan-based hospital lacked facility to run test to detect the virus, he was referred to STIDH for further examination.

According to Dr. Anup Bastola, Chief Consultant Tropical Medicine at the STIDH Teku, the suspected patient did not have any symptoms of coronavirus infection. The person had come from South Korea few days ago. He was sent to Kathmandu on Thursday evening after he suspected himself to be infected with the disease.

The person has shown no sign of coronavirus, said Dr. Bastola adding that the person was suffering from influenza.

“However, he is undergoing treatment at the STIDH because he has developed Pneumonia. He is kept in a general ward,” he added. Dr. Bastola further added that so far the hospital had sent six samples of throat swab to the laboratory. Of them, only one tested positive for coronavirus, while the rest resulted negative.

A 32-year-old Nepali student who recently returned from Wuhan, an epicenter of Coronavirus was tested positive.

He was already discharged from the hospital and none of his family members and friends who came to his close contact had shown any symptoms of coronavirus, said Dr. Bastola.

“We are in a close contact with the patient, as there are chances of disease contacting other people. But he is absolutely fine now,” said Dr. Bastola.

According to him, the hospital has set up isolated ward to for admission and treatment of the novel coronavirus. The hospital has capacity to admitting only five patients.

According to WHO, coronaviruses 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.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, SARS, kidney failure and even death, said Dr. Bastola.

He said panic over the coronavirus outside of China is unproductive and unwarranted. But public should take precautions to avoid the infection.

According to him, some media channels in the country are trying to create sensationalisation in terms of the new disease. Such practice should be discouraged in order to save people from panicking.

The most effective preventive measures are everyday actions like increased hand washing and not touching your face, nose and mouth, he added.