Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Currently, the CDC is battling an outbreak of a respiratory disease
caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. Called COVID-19, it was originally
detected in China and has expanded globally, including to the U.S.  

  • It can be spread from human to human and can be diagnosed with a laboratory test.
  • There is currently no vaccine yet available. Repeated hand washing, coughing into your elbow, and not leaving your residence are recommend forms of prevention.
  • Community spread is a problem, which is when people are infected in a particular area, including some who are not sure where or how it occurred.
  • COVID-19 has been diagnosed heavily in people throughout United States, China, Italy and has been detected in over 100 other countries as well.
On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak.

CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Background

There are several known coronaviruses that currently infect people, however they usually only cause mild respiratory illness, like the common cold. At least two identified viruses have caused accute disease — severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus.

The most recent troublesome strain is the Novel Coronavirus, which causes the disease known as COVID-19. The symptoms of COVID-19 are different from the flu and usually appear between 2 days and 2 weeks after exposure. People who have it often feel some or all of the following symptoms: fever, sore throat, chills, cough, shortness of breath and mild to severe respiratory illness,.

These outbreaks can spread as epidemics or even international pandemics. The coronavirus can live on a surface for hours and possibly even a day depending on environmental factors. Coronavirus can be contained, however. The EPA states “Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses, meaning they are one of the easiest to kill [on surfaces] with the appropriate disinfectant product.” The CDC states “routine cleaning and disinfection procedures (e.g., using cleaners and water to pre- clean surfaces prior to applying an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant to frequently touched surfaces or objects for appropriate contact times as indicated on the product’s label) are appropriate for 2019-nCoV in healthcare settings.”

Frequently Asked Questions
How did this coronavirus spread to humans?
COVID-19 originally appeared in December 2019, in a city in China called Wuhan. Although health officials are still in the process of tracing the exact source, early estimates state it may be linked to a seafood market in the city. Some people who visited the market developed viral pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus. However, the first diagnosed case had no link to the seafood market in question. Investigations are ongoing as to how this virus originated and spread.
What are symptoms of COVID-19?
COVID-19 symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, and chills. In certain cases, COVID-19 can lead to severe respiratory issues, kidney failure or even death.

If exhibiting some or all of these symptoms, be sure to contact your doctor or health care provide. Be sure to explain your symptoms over the phone prior to visiting the doctor’s office, urgent care building or emergency room.

Let them know if you have traveled outside the country in the last 2 weeks, or if you suspect you have been close (within 2 meters) of someone who has COVID-19. Your doctor or health care provider will recommend the next steps you should follow.

How long until symptoms of COVID-19 are present?
Symptoms appear to be showing up in people within 14 days of being exposed to the coronavirus.
How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
With just a physical exam, diagnosing the presence of the coronavirus may be difficult because mild cases of COVID-19 could seem similar to the flu or a case of the common cold. A laboratory test can help determine the diagnosis.
How is COVID-19 treated?
Currently, no specific treatment for the virus exists. People who become ill from COVID-19 should be treated with supportive measures which relieve symptoms. For acute cases, additional treatment options may be available, including therapeutics and research drugs.
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