Health: UPDATE 2: Confirmed novel coronavirus cases reported Jan. 7, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Maintain basic health precautions.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert affects Wuhan, Hubei Province

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This alert began 15 Jan 2020 07:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Novel coronavirus outbreak
  • Affected Area: Wuhan, Hubei Province
  • Cases: 41
  • Period: December 2019 - January 2020
  • Transmission: Likely respiratory (coughing, sneezing, speaking)

Summary
Chinese authorities have confirmed that the reported viral pneumonia outbreak is a novel coronavirus (nCOV) with 41 cases confirmed as of Jan. 3, Wuhan, Hubei Province. Officials hospitalized all cases presented with severe pneumonia, to receive treatment in isolation. Authorities reported no additional cases as of Jan. 3. This represents the most complete information available as of Jan. 15.

The reported clinical signs and symptoms of infection are primarily fever, with only a few patients reported having difficulty in breathing with chest radiographs highlighting invasive pneumonic infiltrates in both lungs.

As of Jan. 14, the US CDC maintains a "Watch-Level 1" travel health notice due to reported novel coronavirus in China. This level of notice emphasizes the need for travelers to enhance basic health precautions by washing hands regularly with soap; avoid contact with sick individuals; and avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (especially uncooked meat).

Background and Analysis
The disease outbreak was reported on Dec. 31, 2019, as suspected Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) cases. However, by Jan. 7, 2020, the pathogen was isolated and identified as a new type of coronavirus (novel coronavirus, nCOV), ruling out any other respiratory pathogens such as influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus, SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), as the cause. Evidence suggests that the outbreak is associated with exposures in one seafood market. The majority of cases were individuals who handled the seafood and frequent visitors to the market. Authorities closed the market Jan. 1, 2020. To date, no infection has been reported among healthcare workers, and there is no clear evidence of human-human transmission. Chinese health authorities continue with intensive surveillance and follow-up measures and epidemiological investigations.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


Resources
US CDC Travel Health Notice: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices

Related Advice: Basic Health Precautions to Avoid Infection.