On Monday, January 27, the US Department of State issued a Level 3 travel advisory urging citizens to reconsider travel to China due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (2019-nCoV), a virus that originated in Wuhan (Hubei province) in China. The Chinese government is imposing quarantines and restricting travel across the country, and additional travel restrictions may be put into place with little or no warning.
The US Department of State has issued a Level 4 travel advisory for Hubei province warning citizens not to travel to the area.
The CDC increased their health alert to Level 3 on Friday, January 24, warning individuals to avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan. In particular, CDC officials warned that the virus poses an increased threat to older adults with underlying health conditions.
As of January 26, cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Arizona, California, Illinois, and Washington states. The director of the CDC said that at least 100 other suspected cases are under investigation in the US.
Fever screenings have been implemented at Atlanta's Hartfield-Jackson International airport (ATL), Chicago's O'Hare International airport (ORD), San Francisco International airport (SFO), Los Angeles International airport (LAX), and New York's John F. Kennedy airport (JFK). All future flights arriving in the US from Wuhan will be routed through the five aforementioned airports.
Further spread of the illness is possible over the near term.
The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan. Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus. At least 106 people have died in China, and an estimated 4600 cases have been confirmed worldwide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency panel in Geneva (Switzerland) on January 23 to discuss the virus, ultimately deciding that it was too early to classify the outbreak as a "public health emergency of international concern." As of January 28, cases of the virus have been confirmed in Australia, Canada, Cambodia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and the US. Virus screening measures are being implemented at airports worldwide.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Individuals who plan to travel to or have recently returned from China, particularly Hubei province, are advised to monitor the situation and anticipate additional security checks at the airport. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:
• Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
• Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
• Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
• Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
• Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments
• Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease
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