Mass hysteria: Chinese citizen tells his health journey as a suspected coronavirus case in Mexico

31/01/2020
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19:31
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Xianwu Guo
Mass hysteria: Chinese citizen tells his health journey as a suspected coronavirus case in Mexico
The novel coronavirus epidemic was declared as an international health emergency by the WHO - Photo: Hao Yuan/ EL UNIVERSAL

Mass hysteria: Chinese citizen tells his health journey as a suspected coronavirus case in Mexico

31/01/2020
19:31
Xianwu Guo
Mexico City
-A +A
The new strain of coronavirus from Wuhan has the potential to expand all over the world and the Chinese government is fighting to control its propagation

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Currently, the new strain of coronavirus from Wuhan, China, has the potential to expand all over the world and the Wuhan government is fighting to control its propagation. Due to the travelers who move all around the world, coronavirus has the chance to enter into Mexico.

I have just come back from a travel to Wuhan and, unfortunately, when I returned to Mexico I showed some symptoms six days after: cough without sputum and a lot of nasal mucus, symptoms that appeared as a common cold. Since I did not have a fever, I was not too careful at first. However, when I knew about the clinical picture produced by the virus can include feverless cases or only low-grade fever, I thought I was infected and that my friends, colleagues, and students might catch it too. After talking about it with my wife, and worried about what might happen, I decided to make a formal statement and not to put others at risk.

Did you know the coronavirus outbreak is an international emergency?

On January 20, I went to an Institute of Social Security for State Workers (ISSSTE) clinic at 9 pm with a colleague. I explained the medical staff the situation and told them about the alarm coronavirus was causing around the world. They said they did not know what to, so I asked to be put in touch with the chief of Epidemiology or with another doctor that could make decisions, but it was to no avail. We had to return home.

The next day, we called a friend who works in the State’s Public Health Department in Tamaulipas and he was able to contact the Institute of Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference (INDRE); they took action. My colleague and I had to be isolated at my home. A tough decision because it meant my colleague had even more chances to become infected. Fortunately, the analysis made at INDRE, thank God, was negative. Nevertheless, what happened to me those two days makes me think if Mexico is ready to fight the Wuhan coronavirus. It is possible that many areas have to be reinforced.

Did you know the new coronavirus discovered in China should not be the SARS of 2020?

There is a report about a passenger who tried to take medications to control his body’s temperature and thus avoid quarantine. The regulation demands that if a passenger comes from the endemic region shows one of the symptoms: fever, diarrhea, cough without phlegm, and weakness, he or she must be isolated immediately. Since some symptoms are not easily identified, it is necessary to voluntarily inform health authorities. In addition, given the case symptoms are shown, all passengers traveling from the endemic region must be mandatorily isolated for 14 days. The adequate system for people to declare is also needed. My colleagues helped me make my declaration at a hospital and I had to explain the current situation of the coronavirus epidemic; nonetheless, the medical staff was not able to evaluate the situation correctly.

On the other hand, mass hysteria caused during my self-imposed quarantine could have been avoided if there had been a place where to declare and obtain the samples. This teaches us something we must have had considered. The media must also be responsible. Although luckily, my case was negative, some media published my full name, my picture, and those of the laboratory members. This must have been avoided at all costs, even if the analysis had tested positive. Personal information must always be confidential to show respect to the patient. I cannot imagine what could have happened if I had really been infected by coronavirus in hospitals that do not have conditions nor regulations to grant quarantines or give timely care for patients suspected to be infected.

Do you think Mexico is ready for the novel coronavirus international emergency?

My comments here are to alert our hospitals, the government, and all media outlets. Mexico has to be ready in the case of coronavirus arriving. Our country must be prepared to face the epidemic in an effective way.

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