‘Coronavirus’ outbreak hits Bulgaria

Written by By Eugenia Kworak, CNN Since the onset of a severe respiratory illness in late May, there have been close to 30 confirmed cases of a respiratory virus known as “coronavirus” in Bulgaria,…

'Coronavirus' outbreak hits Bulgaria

Written by By Eugenia Kworak, CNN

Since the onset of a severe respiratory illness in late May, there have been close to 30 confirmed cases of a respiratory virus known as “coronavirus” in Bulgaria, according to the country’s health ministry.

Seven people have been hospitalized, including two who died, and a further 59 are under surveillance, the ministry said in a statement on Monday. The statement also said that it has issued an advisory to health care professionals that all hospitals should keep patients under observation for at least 21 days.

The spate of cases comes just a few months after a rare coronavirus was reported in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in September 2016. Since then, a total of 37 cases have been reported worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, but there have been no reported fatalities.

A man in his 50s who was admitted to a hospital in the coastal city of Plovdiv with respiratory symptoms became the first Bulgarian confirmed case on May 26. He was admitted to intensive care and was later placed on mechanical ventilation. His condition is described as stable.

A further 17 Bulgarian cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed since May 26, the health ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The exact cause of the outbreak is still under investigation, but in both cases the patients were involved in outdoor activities — walking and running — and had a history of close contact with animals.

Coronaviruses, which are common among birds, are often transmitted to humans through contact with droppings and other airborne particles from infected animals or contaminated food and water.

In the early stages of the illness, the symptoms are similar to those of the common cold, the WHO said on June 26. The symptoms, however, are more severe and can include breathing difficulties, diarrhea, and even heart failure.

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