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What you need to know about the coronavirus

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By Marla Hurston Fuller  

Cincinnati Health Department 

An outbreak of a 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has occurred in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which began in December 2019.      

There are no cases of novel Coronavirus Cincinnati currently. 

The only people at risk of illness due to this outbreak are those with fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness who: 

  • In the last 14 days before symptom onset have traveled from Wuhan City, China or 
  • In the last 14 days before symptom onset have had close contact with a person who is under investigation for 2019-nCoV while that person was ill or:
  • In the last 14 days have had close contact with an ill laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient. 

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. 

Patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fevercough or shortness of breath 

Other early symptoms include chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea/ vomiting or runny nose. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 after exposure.  

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people. Many of the patients in the pneumonia outbreak caused by 2019-nCov in Wuhan, China, had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.   

It’s important to note that how easily a virus spreads person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person. It’s important to know this in order to better understand the risk associated with this virus. 

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, 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. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.  

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. 

People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should contact a healthcare provider immediately. 

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