VA Long Beach Healthcare System
Most coronaviruses infect animals, but not people. However, seven different coronaviruses, that scientists know of, can infect people and make them sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak had some link to a large seafood and 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.
The first infection with 2019-nCoV in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of infection with 2019-nCoV in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
For confirmed 2019-nCoV infections, reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, general preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses is always recommended, such as:
- 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 and surfaces.
- These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.