According to the Secretary of Public Health for the city of Cali, Colombia, Miyerlandi Torres, a passenger arrived on January 25 in Colombia’s third largest city with symptoms conforming with those of the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. The passenger, a male in his 40s, returned from China, passing through Spain & the United States on his way back to Colombia.
The traveler presented respiratory symptoms, fever, and general malaise. After laboratory exams, the Valle del Cauca and Colombia’s National Health Institute will share more information, according to Torres, who emphasized that as of now, there is no conclusive diagnosis of Coronavirus, though they are treating it as a possible case.
“Given the anterior, we can say that in Colombia there have only been 3 suspected cases of coronavirus, of which two have been tested negative, and we have this case under study, under the protocols of the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health,” said Torres, a laboratory bacteriologist by profession.
“The sector has 3 weeks attending this situation. We have evaluated 2 cases; the most recent yesterday, and in both cases, we have disconfirmed the presence of coronavirus in Colombia. Yesterday we had a meeting to evaluate the risk and until now, the risk for the country is low; nevertheless, we have all the protocols of vigilance active, and we have attention ready in case it is needed,” said Minister of Health Iván Dario Gonzalez last week (before this recent case in Cali) as he asked the media for calm in their reporting.
According to Colombian daily El Tiempo, the patient was in Wuhan, China; the outbreak epicenter.
According to El Tiempo, the Cali resident arrived after stops in Los Angeles the day before (January 24), then arriving in Cali after entering Colombia through Bogotá. Colombian health authorities are sending samples to the CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control) in Atlanta for further study.
Torres says that the patient is in total isolation in a private clinic in the south of Cali.
Authorities continue to ask for calm and emphasize that there has not yet been definitive confirmation of the coronavirus.
Miyerlandi Torres photo courtesy of Secretaria de Salud de Cali, Colombia