Coronaviruses are mainly transmitted by large respiratory droplets and direct or indirect contact with infected secretions. They have also been detected in blood, feces and urine and, under certain circumstances, airborne transmission is thought to have occurred from aerosolized respiratory secretions and fecal material.
As coronaviruses have a lipid envelope, a wide range of disinfectants are effective. PPE and good infection prevention and control precautions are effective at minimizing risk but can never eliminate it. Most importantly, effective hand hygiene practices and cough etiquettes are key in preventing health personnel from getting infected in the process of care.
As COVID-19 has only been recently identified, there is currently limited information about the precise routes of transmission. This guidance is based on knowledge gained from experience in responding to coronaviruses with significant epidemic potential such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and the Ebola virus in Liberia and Sierra Leon. Emerging information from these experiences has highlighted factors that could increase the risk of nosocomial transmission, such as delayed implementation of appropriate infection prevention and control measures combined persistence of coronavirus in the clinical setting. How long any respiratory virus survives in the environment will depend on a number of factors, for example:
- the surface the virus is on
- whether it is exposed to sunlight
- environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity
- exposure to cleaning product
Under most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 72 hours.
In the absence of effective drugs or a vaccine, control of this disease relies on the prompt identification, appropriate risk assessment, management and isolation of possible cases, and the investigation and follow up of close contacts to minimize potential onward transmission.
Effective Infection Prevention and Control measures, including transmission-based precautions (airborne, droplet and contact precautions) with the recommended PPE are essential to minimize these risks. Appropriate cleaning and decontamination of the environment is also essential in preventing the spread of this virus.
In Cameroon the first two cases were diagnosed on March 6, 2020 and are currently being isolated and treated at the Central Hospital in Yaoundé. The index case came in from France though said to Cameroonian now with French Nationality. Since arrival in Cameroon on February he alleged to have traveled to the West region and visited a couple of family members and friends.