Community update: 2019 Novel coronavirus, Jan. 22, 2020

January 22, 2020 9:04 a.m.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in close to 300 confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally. The first case of the novel coronavirus was announced on Jan. 21, 2020. There are ongoing investigations to learn more. CDC is closely monitoring this situation and is working with WHO.

According to the CDC, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Usually coronavirus only causes mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people, and then spread between people, such as has been seen with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). When person-to-person spread has occurred with SARS and MERS, it is thought to happen via respiratory droplets with close contacts, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. More information is online.

The first case in the United States was a patient with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection who traveled from Wuhan on Jan. 15, 2020. The patient sought care at a medical facility in the state of Washington. Based on the patient’s travel history and symptoms, health care professionals suspected the new coronavirus. A clinical specimen was collected and sent to CDC overnight, where laboratory testing Jan. 20 confirmed the diagnosis.

On Jan. 11, 2020, CDC updated the level 1 travel health notice (“practice usual precautions”) for Wuhan City, Hubei Province, (originally issued on Jan. 6, 2020). On Jan. 21, 2020, CDC updated to the level II travel health notice (“practice enhanced precautions”) for Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China with additional information.

CDC interim guidance on the outbreak is online.