Dr. Daniel Lucey, who has responded to, and monitored information on outbreaks since 2001, has provided a series of updates and analysis on the outbreak, now an epidemic of 2019-nCoV, the novel coronavirus identified in Wuhan China, since Jan. 7. He continues to respond to development and data on the outbreak here.
In today’s World Health Organization 2019-nCoV Situation Report the very helpful map below is shown with global locations of reported confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (nCoV). Of note, there are zero cases reported from anywhere on the African continent.
This absence of recognized cases is unlikely to reflect the reality on the ground. Given the high flow of traffic between Africa and China,* it is not plausible to believe there are truly zero cases in all of Africa.
Instead, as noted in the Jan. 31 WHO African Regional Office (AFRO) posting on its coronavirus website states: “Since this is a new virus, there are currently only two referral laboratories in the African region which have the reagents needed to conduct such tests…”
*WHO ramps up preparedness for novel coronavirus in the African region – WHO has identified 13 top priority countries — which either have direct links or a high volume of travel to China.”
Daniel Lucey, M.D. MPH, FIDSA, FACP, is an infectious diseases physician and adjunct professor of infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center, a senior scholar at the Georgetown University O’Neil Institute, Anthropology Research Associate, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Global Health Committee.He has served as a volunteer medical responder to outbreaks that included the West Africa Ebola crisis. He has collected information on outbreaks starting in 2001 with cases of anthrax in 2001, and including smallpox vaccination 2002, SARS 2003, H5N1 Flu 2004, MERS in 2013, and Ebola in April, 2014, He has gathered, and is updating information on the current outbreak of pneumonia first reported in Wuhan City in the Hubei province of China.