It’s been all over the news, and you’re wondering – do I need to worry about catching the novel coronavirus in Peru? As scary and unnerving as a new, contagious disease can be, fortunately you won’t have to worry about catching this one during your visit to South America.
What is a coronavirus, anyway? A coronavirus is a general term for a family of viruses that are round and have spokes, making them look like a crown (hence the name – ‘corona’virus) which typically affect the respiratory system of mammals and birds, including humans. This can include anything from the common cold, pneumonia, and other known diseases, such as SARS and MERS. These types of viruses are responsible for 15 – 30 percent of common colds, and have been found in mice, rats, dogs, cats, turkeys, bats, people, etc.
So, what makes this one special? This one is new, and doesn’t even really have a name yet. For now they’re calling it 2019-nCoV, meaning that it’s a novel/new coronavirus first detected in 2019. This one was first detected in December of 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, in China, with the virus now spreading from person-to-person in parts of that country. While there have been cases seen outside of China, the vast majority are seen in those who have recently been in Wuhan City and traveled.
What are the symptoms? The symptoms are similar to many other corona viruses – sneezing, runny nose, fatigue, cough, sometimes a fever, and sore throat. There is no cure at this time, and so the treatment is time, and take it easy so you heal the way you would with any cold – get lots of rest, drink lots of water, take your favorite painkiller to reduce any pain you have. Basically, make yourself comfortable until it blows over. It’s been all over the news, and you’re wondering – do I need to worry about catching the novel coronavirus during my trip to Peru? As scary and unnerving as a new, contagious disease can be, fortunately you won’t have to worry about catching this one during your visit to South America. Do I need to worry about catching the Coronavirus in Peru? Unless you are currently in Wuhan City, China, probably not. Chinese authorities are doing everything they can to keep things under control, and travel in and out of China has been strictly limited until they have a handle on things. The cases that have been confirmed outside of China were people who had either recently been in Wuhan, or someone very close, such as a spouse.
Just in case, how do I avoid getting it? You’ll want to follow the same protocol that you really should during any flu season or during any travels (as found on the CDC website):
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home (or possibly your hotel room) if you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Have there been any cases in Peru? No, as of the writing of this there have been no confirmed cases in Peru, or anywhere in South America. So if you are traveling to Peru, or anywhere else in South America, one thing you won’t need to worry about is catching the coronavirus! That said, proper preventative measures before travel is always a good idea, so a visit to a travel clinic or your GP before you fly out. This may help you avoid discomfort of things you are more likely to encounter, such as high altitudes in the Andes! If you would like to see updated information about Coronavirus, you can check out this link.