It would be excessive to speak of “who lives”. Much more accurate to evoke a “Serious and applied preparation”. As for French hospitals, the potential arrival of the Chinese virus 2019-nCoV is not scary. “We are already not badly prepared”, recognizes Professor Yazdan Yazdanpanah, head of the infectious diseases department at Bichat hospital in Paris. In everyone’s mind, the international epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003. The disease had affected nearly 8,100 people, killing 774. “Since that time, we have changed the way we work. Infrastructures have been put in place, people have been trained, we do exercises regularly. In Paris, Bichat Hospital and Pitié-Salpêtrière are specialized in this kind of infections and have seven dedicated isolation rooms “, adds the expert, also director of the Institute of Infectious Disease at Inserm.
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On the Ministry of Health side, the instructions are clear: the call to 15 should be preferred by patients with symptoms. “Because the best way to spread a disease is to go directly to the emergency room, where you will be in contact with others”, underlines Yazdan Yazdanpanah. In the event of an alert, the infected potential will be brought to the hospital, in an isolation room. Samples will be taken to eliminate or confirm the diagnosis, carried out by the National Reference Centers (CNR) of the Institut Pasteur. In Paris, Bichat hospital will be able to have the results of analyzes within its walls by the end of next week “to go faster”, says our expert. If a patient were to be tested positive, he would be kept in solitary confinement and care would be provided to him, even if there is still no vaccine against 2019-nCoV.
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“A real epidemic”
For the moment, no case has been detected in France. Two people were suspected but their tests were revealed “Negatives”, assured Thursday the Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn. Problem: the symptoms of the Chinese virus are more or less the same as the flu, in full seasonal peak. The cases could therefore be more difficult to detect by the health services. “For a patient to be suspected, he must in particular come from Wuhan, have made a trip there less than two weeks ago, have a fever and have significant respiratory signs”, says Yazdan Yazdanpanah. According to the professor, many calls have already been recorded by centers 15 in France and in Parisian hospitals.
Internally, vigilance instructions were sent to healthcare personnel. The general direction of the health scrupulously follows the recommendations of the WHO, which tried to calm the play, Thursday evening. “Do not mistake yourself. It is an emergency in China. But it is too early to declare a public health emergency of international concern ”, said the managing director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. If the memory of the Mers virus (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and Ebola remain vivid in France, Yazdan Yazdanpanah recalls that no case had been reported in France. “It’s serious, we have a real epidemic, but the risk of spread remains very low in Europe and in France “, he tempers.