Siouxsie Wiles on NZ is unlikely to see a coronavirus outbreak

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 28 Jan 2020, 10:45AM
Dr Siouxsie Wiles says that cultural practices around food in China have contributed to the outbreak. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Siouxsie Wiles on NZ is unlikely to see a coronavirus outbreak

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 28 Jan 2020, 10:45AM

An infectious diseases expert says New Zealand is likely to escape a coronavirus outbreak.

The deadly virus has infected almost three thousand people across the world - with 81 people confirmed dead in China.

The Ministry of Health says it's highly likely the virus will reach New Zealand shores.

Auckland University's Siouxsie Wiles says we are likely to see cases here due to the high number of overseas cases, but told Mike Hosking the number of cases is likely to be limited.

"We don't have the same population density and when small number of cases come in, they can be easily isolated and stopped."

She says efforts are ramping up to develop a vaccine, but can't be rolled out overnight.

"All of that will take time because you have to give it to people, you have to find out whether there are any side effects, whether they amount an immune response."

Chinese officials have now traced the disease back to a seafood wholesale market in Wuhan. Wiles says wholesale food markets are part of the culture in cities like Wuhan, and while that practice exists, it will be hard to prevent further outbreaks. 

"The really tricky thing is how you change cultural practices. In China, they want meat as fast as possible, and that's why they slice them up. It's a really hard thing to say you can't have that."

 

 

 

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