Interim guidance for healthcare professionals on infection prevention and control recommendations for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is now available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A traveler returning from China to Washington state is the first confirmed case of 2019-nCoV in the United States. The CDC began public health entry screenings at several major airports last week and has activated its Emergency Operations Center to provide ongoing support.
Medical professionals initially thought the virus was spread only from animal to human, but limited person-to-person spread has occurred. The virus presents as a respiratory illness with mild to severe symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. It is spread via respiratory droplets with close contact, like the flu.
All healthcare personnel should follow strict infection control practices:
- Patients should wear surgical masks if showing symptoms.
- Healthcare workers should wear proper personal protective equipment, including eye protection.
- Evaluate patients in a private room with the door closed.
- Notify facility infection control personnel and your local health department if you have a patient under review for 2019-nCoV.
China first reported the outbreak in December 2019. Most patients are linked to a large seafood and animal market in Hubei Province. Chinese health officials released the genetic sequence of the virus enabling health officials worldwide to test travelers and track it. Officials there are limiting travel to stop the spread. Since the CDC Health Update of Jan. 17, 2020, the virus has spread to Japan and Thailand.
Visit the CDC and the World Health Organization for the most recent information about 2019-nCoV.