As the deadly coronavirus spreads to thousands, concern grows across the globe.
As cases of the 2020 coronavirus outbreak (2019-nCoV) nears 3,000 patients in China and cases begin popping up in the U.S. near major airports, misinformation runs rampant on social media and even in broadcast cable news.In the interest of informing and educating your patients, here are some things physicians should keep in mind about the virus, including information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
1. The virus origins
Rumblings about an unknown, pneumonia-like illness affecting 59 people in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. SARS, an infectious disease which swept through the country in 2009 was quickly ruled out. Government censors blocked discussion of the disease on Chinese social media.
While the initial infections are believed to originated in an animal markets, the Chinese government says it is now passing from person to person.
2. Coming to America
The first U.S. case of the coronavirus was announced Jan. 21 in a man in his 30s in the state of Washington. He developed symptoms after returning from a trip to Wuhan. After his diagnosis, health officials stepped up health screenings at major airports across the country.
Since then multiple other cases have been announced in Chicago, Arizona, and California
3. Symptoms, part 1
The CDC has two sets of criteria for patients who should be investigated as possible cases of the coronavirus. Here is the first:
4. Symptoms, part 2
The CDC has two sets of criteria for patients who should be investigated as possible cases of the coronavirus. Here is the second:
5. Reporting recommendations
Doctors should immediately contact infection control personnel at their healthcare facility and their local health department if they have identified a patient under investigation for the coronavirus.
The CDC will handle diagnostic testing for the coronavirus, but testing for other respiratory pathogens can lead to a PUI being cleared from having the disease.
CDC recommends collecting and testing multiple clinical specimens from different sites, including all three specimen types:
Additional specimen types (e.g., stool, urine) may be collected and stored. Specimens should be collected as soon as possible.
7. Latest update
As of Jan. 27, the New York Times has reported 80 deaths connected to the disease and 3,000 people are now infected with the virus with the vast majority living in China.
The mayor of Wuhan has offered to resign as the public chafes against travel bans and what some see as the government bureaucracy’s failure to respond quickly to the disease.