By: Heather Davies, M.D.
2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a respiratory illness that causes fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China and is believed to have been first transmitted to humans from infected sea animals. It now appears that the virus can be spread from person to person. The CDC explains that this transmission is “most likely from respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.” Based on other coronaviruses, it is believed that symptoms can appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
There currently is no vaccine nor treatment for the virus. The best way to prevent the virus is by not coming into contact with it. While there are 5 confirmed cases of the virus in the US, there is no indication that 2019-nCoV is spreading in the US currently. Therefore, “there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public to take” according to the CDC. However, it is always wise to follow general hygiene practices to avoid spreading/catching infections including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces.
While CDC considers this is a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time. If you think your child may have been directly exposed to 2019-nCoV, please contact our office immediately and speak with our advice nurse prior to scheduling an appointment. If your child has fever, cough, shortness of breath and was in Wuhan, China or had close contact to someone who was there in the previous 14 days, they should call the health department and go to nearest emergency room.
We will continue to update our website as more information becomes available through the CDC.
Information obtained through: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/