Disinfecting the surroundings and observing personal and public hygiene can prevent the wider spread of the Coronavirus across the country, said the secretary of the Iranian Society of Pathology (ISP).
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Dr. Mehran Qahremani called for further measures as Coronavirus has entered a serious phase globally where its signs and symptoms are becoming apparent in a larger number of infected individuals.
He expressed satisfaction over the fact that all medical labs across Iran are currently capable of detecting suspicious cases through preliminary tests, such as counting lymphocytes and measuring creatine phosphokinase (CPK) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in individuals.
“These cases are, then, sent to reference labs for a more precise diagnosis.”
On Sunday, Iran's Health Ministry raised the nationwide death toll from the new coronavirus to 54 as the number of infected cases jumped overnight to 978 people.
Qahremani added at present, only a number of public labs in Iran have coronavirus test kits, noting that five of them are located in the Iranian capital of Tehran and the rest in other provinces.
In these centers, following preliminary medical examinations, a number of tests are conducted on suspicious cases, and, then, if needed, the infected individuals are hospitalized.
“If patients are screened correctly at the medical laboratory centers and only suspicious individuals are sent to reference labs, the country’s current facilities and test kits will be sufficient for meeting the domestic need in this regard. However, if every patient with cold-like symptoms requests to be tested for coronavirus, we will face a test kit shortage.”
The ISP secretary added that the private labs in the country have also expressed willingness to cooperate with the public centers in detection of coronavirus patients, saying at present, some of these private labs have isolation wards and are equipped enough to carry out the required tests.
“We are making efforts to, in cooperation with the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education and the Health Reference Laboratory of Iran, help the domestic private labs begin identifying coronavirus patients, reducing the burden currently shouldered by the public centers and improving the diagnosis process.”
He said eight private labs have, thus far, announced willingness for cooperation, adding, however, their capabilities in this field are primarily required to be assessed.
Qahremani said the disease has a number of clinical, radiological and laboratory signs, listing some of the clinical signs as dry cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle ache and, to some extent, runny nose.
He put at about 14 days the incubation period of the virus, saying it means that after being infected with it, it takes from one week to 14 days for the symptoms to appear.
Nevertheless, he added, these symptoms could be those of other viral diseases, such as cold or flu.
“In less than 20 percent of the infected cases, the disease becomes severe causing shortness of breath. The remaining 80 percent only develop very weak symptoms, which can be relieved by the individuals themselves through a number of measures including taking enough rest and getting sufficed fluids.”
He said since not transmitting the virus to other people is of great importance in this case, observing personal hygiene through a number of measures, such as washing or disinfecting the hands regularly, is very important.
Qahremani said due to its big size and heavy weight, the coronavirus is not transmitted through air or inhalation of dust particles, warning that it is transmitted through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
“Thus, in case of keeping a 1.5- to two-meter distance from the infected individuals, the virus cannot be transmitted.”
He said in Iran, the coronavirus disease has reached a critical and important stage as 14 days have elapsed since the detection of the first patients, noting that in coming days, the virus is expected to show its symptoms in a larger number of individuals who had caught it earlier yet failed to know that they were infected.
In addition, these individuals have possibly transmitted the virus to other people, Qahremani regretted.