The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (named "2019-nCoV") that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and which continues to expand. Chinese health officials have reported thousands of infections with 2019-nCoV in China, with the virus reportedly spreading from person-to-person in many parts of that country. Infections with 2019-nCoV, most of them associated with travel from Wuhan, also are being reported in a growing number of international locations, including the United States. The United States reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with this virus on January 30, 2020.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people, then spread between people, such as happened with MERS and SARS.
The Situation in the United States
Imported cases of 2019-nCoV infection in travelers have been detected in the United States. Person-to-person spread of 2019-nCoV also has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, but at this time, this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.
The United States government has taken unprecedented steps related to travel in response to the growing public health threat posed by this new coronavirus, including suspending entry into the United States of foreign nationals who have visited China within the past 14 days. Measures to detect this virus among those who are allowed entry into the United States (United States citizens, residents, and family) who have been in China within 14 days also are being implemented.
While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
- For everyone: It's currently flu and respiratory disease season and the CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
- For healthcare professionals:
- Be on the lookout for people with a travel history to China and fever and respiratory symptoms.
- If you are a health care professional caring for a 2019-nCoV patient, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
- For people who may have 2019-nCoV infection: Please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others.
- For travelers: Stay up to date with the CDC's travel health notices related to this outbreak.
See the complete CDC article at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html.
The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.