Novel Coronavirus in China |
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Novel Coronavirus in China

Beijing-China

23 Jan Novel Coronavirus in China

There is an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness first identified in Wuhan, China, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus.  Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear how easily the virus spreads between people. Other parts of China have had cases among people who traveled to Wuhan.

What is the current situation?

A novel (new) coronavirus is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This outbreak began in early December 2019 and continues to expand in scope and magnitude. Chinese health officials have reported hundreds of cases in the city of Wuhan and severe illness has been reported, including deaths. CDC recommends that travelers avoid non-essential travel to Wuhan. Cases have also been identified in travelers from Wuhan to other parts of China and the world, including the United States. Person-to-person spread is occurring though it’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people at this time. Signs and symptoms of this illness include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. There are several known coronaviruses that infect people and usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. However, at least two previously identified coronaviruses have caused severe disease — severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus.
What can travelers do to protect themselves and others?

CDC recommends avoiding non-essential travel to Wuhan, China. Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan, including buses, subways, trains, and the airport. Remain alert if traveling to other parts of China by practicing the precautions below.

Travelers to China should:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

If you traveled to China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, 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. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Clinician Information:

Healthcare providers should obtain a detailed travel history for patients with fever and respiratory symptoms. For patients with these symptoms who were in Wuhan on or after December 1, 2019 and had onset of illness within 2 weeks of leaving, consider the 2019 novel coronavirus and notify infection control personnel and your local health department immediately.

Although routes of transmission have yet to be definitively determined, CDC recommends a cautious approach to interacting with patients under investigation. Ask such patients to wear a surgical mask as soon as they are identified. Conduct their evaluation in a private room with the door closed, ideally an airborne infection isolation room, if available. Personnel entering the room should use standard precautions, contact precautions, and airborne precautions, and use eye protection (goggles or a face shield). For additional infection control guidance, visit CDC’s Infection Control webpage.

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