As the first case of a novel coronavirus has been confirmed in the U.S., the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is in close communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC is closely monitoring an evolving outbreak caused by the new coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Chinese authorities first identified the new coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, which has resulted in more than 300 confirmed human infections in China with several deaths reported. Countries, including the United States, have been actively screening incoming travelers from Wuhan. Exported human infections with the novel coronavirus have also been confirmed to date in Thailand, the Republic of Korea, and Japan.
Symptoms of the new respiratory virus include cough, difficulty breathing, fever and, in some patients, life-threatening pneumonia. Information about the illness is limited. Healthcare providers in Alabama are asked to conduct screening of patients seeking care for influenza-like illnesses with travel to Wuhan, China, in the past 14 days prior to illness and contact ADPH and CDC for consultation and guidance.
County health departments are posting signs cautioning the public experiencing these or any flu-like symptoms not to enter these facilities. People with these symptoms should instead contact a physician, urgent care center, or hospital emergency room for screening and care. The ADPH Bureau of Clinical Laboratories is prepared to receive notifications and specimens from healthcare providers who treat patients presumed to meet the criteria for 2019-nCoV.
While severe illness, including illness resulting in deaths, has been reported in China, the CDC reports that other patients have had milder illness and been discharged.
Investigations are ongoing because this is a rapidly evolving situation. The confirmation that some limited person-to-person spread with this virus is occurring in Asia raises the level of concern about this virus, but CDC continues to believe the risk of 2019-nCoV to the American public at large remains low at this time. Information will be updated as it becomes available.
For more information about 2019-nCoV, go tohttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html