Q: What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
A: The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hebei Province, China in December 2019.
Q: What is the source of 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
A: Public health officials and partners are working hard to identify the source of the 2019-nCoV. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting the virus likely emerged from an animal source.
Q: What are the symptoms and complications that Novel Coronavirus 2019 can cause?
A: Current symptoms reported for patients with 2019-nCoV have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Q: How does the virus spread?
A: This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person to person. Some viruses are highly contagious while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person to person. It is likely that it is spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory viruses.
Q: Has anyone in the United States gotten infected?
A: Yes. As of January 24, 2020, two cases of 2019-nCoV have been reported in the United States; one in Washington State and one in Chicago, Illinois. Both patients had recently returned from Wuhan, China. More cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States.
Q: What is Stanford Health Care doing about 2019-nCoV?
A: This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available. CDC works 24/7 to protect people’s health. It is CDC’s job to be concerned and move quickly whenever there is a potential public health problem.
As soon as the CDC sent an alert about the outbreak, Stanford Health Care’s Emerging Infectious Diseases subcommittee was activated. The subcommittee, along with the Stanford Health Care Infection Prevention & Control Department, relies on information from the CDC, World Health Organization, local and state Health Department to maintain the most current information and recommendations. They also provide guidelines for screening of patients and procedures for healthcare workers to follow should a patient require isolation, and to ensure patient and healthcare worker safety.
With standard protocols in place at all times and working closely with our local and national government health agencies to update protocols as necessary, Stanford Health Care is well-prepared to care for patients with symptoms of 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
Q: Am I at risk for 2019-nCoV infection in the United States?
A: This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk changes daily. The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.
Q: How can I help protect myself?
A: Visit the CDC’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Treatment page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses like 2019-nCoV. Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub can help prevent spread of many respiratory viruses.
Q: Is it safe to travel to Wuhan, China or other countries where 2019-nCoV 2019 cases have occurred?
A: CDC has issued at a Level 3 Travel Health Notice recommending people avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China. CDC has also issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for the rest of China: Practice Usual Precautions. The notice advises travelers to other parts of China to protect their health by avoiding contact with sick people, avoiding animals (alive or dead) and animal markets, and washing their hands often. The situation is evolving. These notices will be updated as more information becomes available.
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.
CDC has additional specific guidance for travelers available online.
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.
Learn about 2019-nCoV Treatment.
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.
Q: How do you test a person for 2019-nCoV?
A: At this time, diagnostic testing for 2019-nCoV can be conducted only at CDC.
Q: Should I be concerned about pets or other animals and 2019-nCoV?
While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person to person. CDC recommends that people traveling to China avoid animals both live and dead, but there is no reason to think that any animals or pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus.
Adapted from CDC.gov, last accessed January 24, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#