Health 13:33 20/03/2020 Armenia

Armenian infectious disease specialist comments on key coronavirus-related concerns

A standard table of symptoms for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been shared by Armenian citizens for some time as an unambiguous standard which mentions only two symptoms in the column of the new virus.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus, however, are fever, dry cough, fatigue, aches in muscles and joints, headaches, and, in less frequent cases, diarrhea, vomiting, common cold and sore throats. The main three symptoms are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.

Unfortunately, Armenia already has its experience of the virus. Panorama.am talked to Narina Sargsyants, an infectious disease specialist and the Health Ministry’s advisor on infectious diseases, over the key coronavirus-related concerns.

Panorama.am: Can only dry cough be a symptom for coronavirus?

N. Sargsyants: The disease without a fever is common among elderly people and people with severe immunodeficiencies. Usually, fever is the most common symptom.

Unless there is a close contact with a confirmed case, no person has arrived from abroad or there is no pneumonia symptoms, there is no need for suspicion and testing, i.e. these epidemiological data are in any case mandatory for the infection to be suspected, with the exception of pneumonia infection, particularly severe pneumonia.

Panorama.am: Mrs. Sargsyants, can itchy tongue or eyes be a coronavirus symptom?

N. Sargsyants: Some people may seek medical aid from an ophthalmologist or otolaryngologist because of other complaints, but no specific information is available. According to some reports the disease may cause rashes, but we cannot take it seriously because we are referring to reports of serious agencies, not individual data.

For example, for three days it had been recommended avoiding ibuprofen. We submitted a letter to the WHO and the response as well as the WHO’s statement issued on Thursday dismissed such information. A French doctor expressed such an opinion, which prompted an uproar. Please be serious and follow only the recommendations of serious structures and refrain from making conclusions on your own.

Panorama.am: If a person has coronavirus but is not experiencing any symptoms, can he/she spread the infection?

N. Sargsyants: In fact, these issues are not fully clarified. We need to understand that all the information on this disease at hand is preliminary; everything will become clear in a few months. All the information we obtain is still changing and uncertain. What I am saying is more or less precise data provided by the World Health Organization and European organizations dealing with the prevention of the infection.

In regard to the question about whether those who become mildly ill or have no symptoms are likely to develop symptoms for the disease later or be wrongfully tested positive for the virus, the person who has no symptoms is less likely to spread the infection than the one who has symptoms.

Panorama.am: What are the most vulnerable groups?

N. Sargsyants: I have complied a logarithm in line with the WTO standard. The disease poses serious risks to the following groups of people having conditions and diseases: people over 60, pregnant women, people with immunodeficiencies, patients with diabetes mellitus, chronic heart diseases, lung diseases and kidney failure. These groups are more vulnerable and we need to take more care of them.

Panorama.am: According to statistics, which of these vulnerable groups is the most prevalent in Armenia?

N. Sargsyan: We don't have such statistics yet.

Panorama.am: Thank you!   



Source Panorama.am
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