SARS or coronavirus – hand washing is key says WHO professor

SARS or coronavirus - hand washing is key says WHO professor

The “most important” way to stop the spread of either

There are many direct parallels between the outbreak of SARS in 2003 and the current coronavirus issue – one of which is the essential role that soap and water hand washing plays when it comes to effective infection control, according to a report on the CNBC website.

The article by Sam Meredith focuses on recent advice issued at a Chatham House press briefing in London, by Professor David Heymann who was at the forefront of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) response to the SARS outbreak seventeen years ago.

There are many similarities between the two scenarios according to the report – and hand washing is deemed vital in both cases, with the Professor stating

“One of the most important ways of stopping respiratory outbreaks such as this is washing hands”.

“So, handwashing is the most important. And second is, people who are suspected as being patients, be very careful when you are dealing with them. Avoid face-to-face contact and wash hands when you’re treating,” Heymann said.

Coming from a large “family” coronaviruses more typically infect animals, but can of course spread to humans.

There is not really a great deal of evidence to support the effectiveness or wearing a mask says the article, particularly when people remove them in order to eat, get them wet – rendering them largely ineffective – or do not wear them correctly.

Wearing masks vs. washing hands: WHO on the lessons learned from the SARS epidemic »

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