The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a second confirmed case of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV in the US.
The novel coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has been ongoing since December 2019. The patient recently returned to Chicago from Wuhan on January 13, 2020 and was admitted to a hospital a few days later after visiting a clinician. The patient currently remains hospitalized in stable condition with infection control measures in place to reduce the risk of transmission.
Clinicians suspected the patient was infected with the novel coronavirus based on travel history and symptoms. Laboratory testing confirmed the diagnosis after a specimen was collected and sent to the CDC. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) are investigating individuals who may have come in contact with the patient, along with any known locations upon returning to Illinois; the Agency states that the patient has had “very limited movement outside the home.”
The CDC considers the novel coronavirus to be a serious public health threat, but at this time, the immediate health risk to the general American public is considered to be low.
Based on CDC recommendations, travelers should avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China. For those traveling to China, certain health precautions should be taken, such as, avoiding contact with people who are sick and practicing good hand hygiene. The CDC has taken the following proactive steps to prepare for the novel coronavirus entering the US:
- Alerting clinicians on January 8 to be on the look-out for patients with respiratory symptoms and a history of travel to Wuhan, China.
- Developing guidance for testing and management of 2019-nCoV, as well as guidance for home care of patients.
- Diagnostic testing of specimens at the CDC; test kits will eventually be shared with domestic and international partners.
- Screening individuals entering the country at Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO) airports.
- Activation of the Emergency Operations Center to better provide ongoing support.
Coronaviridae is a large family of viruses, of which some strains cause respiratory illness in humans, while others circulate among animals such as camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people; this infection can then become epidemic among humans via respiratory droplets between close contacts, as occurred with the outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The CDC does highlight that, presently, it is unclear how 2019-nCoV is being transmitted between humans.
For more information visit CDC.gov.