A new wide-spread virus called the 2019 novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, is making waves across the news in recent days. This virus is plaguing China and other international locations, with more than 100 confirmed deaths, and has made its way to the United States. As of January 28th, there were 5 confirmed cases in Arizona, California, Illinois and Washington. All of these confirmed cases are people who had recently traveled from China, and most specifically Wuhan, China, with a population that exceeds New York City by 2.6 million.
The Minnesota Department of Health also recently reported two patients being investigated in Minnesota for the 2019 novel coronavirus who had recently traveled from China with symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. Their test results came back negative.
Influenza is still the greater threat to the United States compared to the coronavirus, with at least 15 million flu illnesses reported so far this season, 140,000 hospitalizations and 8,200 deaths in the United States. So, if you haven’t received your flu shot there’s still time for added protection.
Murray County Medical Center is following the proper guidelines for infection control and patient safety and will work with the state’s public health department and the CDC protocol for patient testing. If you or a loved one have recently been to China and have a fever, cough or are having difficulties with breathing please seek medical care immediately.
There will most likely be more confirmed cases in the United States in the days and weeks ahead. We live in a very connected and mobile world, so an outbreak like this can make its way everywhere. The best prevention for this virus and any virus is practicing good hand hygiene by washing your hands often and using hand sanitizer as necessary.
Q: What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
A: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Q: What is the source of the coronavirus?
A: Public health officials and partners are working hard to identify the source of 2019-nCoV. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market.
Q: How is this virus transmitted?
A: This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person.
Q: What if I recently traveled to Wuhan, China and got sick?
A: If you were in Wuhan and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left Wuhan, you should:
- Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Q: Is there a vaccine?
A: Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against 2019-nCoV.
Q: What are the treatments?
A: There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
Q: Should I be tested for 2019-nCoV?
A: If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from Wuhan, China, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and mention your recent travel or close contact. If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and mention your recent travel or close contact. Your healthcare provider will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for 2019-nCoV.
Please visit the CDC website, which is updated daily, for the latest information.
Source: CDC website