2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Table of Contents

What is Coronavirus?

Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and were first identified in the mid-1960s. Seven different coronaviruses, that scientists know of, can infect people and make them sick.

Common human coronaviruses, including types 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1, usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults.

Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have been known to frequently cause severe symptoms. MERS symptoms usually include fever, cough, and shortness of breath which often progress to pneumonia. About 3 or 4 out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died. MERS cases continue to occur, primarily in the Arabian Peninsula. SARS symptoms often included fever, chills, and body aches which usually progressed to pneumonia. No human cases of SARS have been reported anywhere in the world since 2004.

In December 2019, a new (or novel) human coronavirus (2019-nCoV) type emerged in China. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly 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, suggesting person-to-person spread is occurring. At this time, it’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people. Patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath appearing anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure. 

When any new illness emerges, it's important to make sure you have the right facts. Have a question about 2019-nCoV? The World Health Organization (WHO) has busted some of the myths surrounding this new virus. See the answers to some of the most common questions on the WHO website.

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Are there any cases in the United States?

You can find updated numbers on people under investigation and confirmed 2019-nCoV cases in the U.S. from the CDC.

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Are there any cases in Alabama?

At this time, no 2019-nCoV cases have been identified in Alabama.

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For Individuals with Recent Travel to China

If you traveled to China and feel sick with fever, cough, or shortness of breath, 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.

The CDC has also provided additional information for travelers going to and returning from China, aircrew, and resources ship industry workers. 

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For Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers should screen patients seeking care for influenza-like illnesses with a history of travel to China in the 14 days prior to illness onset. If you are a healthcare provider who suspects their patient may have this 2019-nCoV, you must take the following steps:

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Complete the CDC Novel Coronavirus Consultation Form found on Serious Infectious Disease Network

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Call ADPH's Infectious Diseases & Outbreaks Division at 1-800-338-8374

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Fax or e-mail completed form (Subject Line: "nCoV PUI Form") to:

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How do coronaviruses present and who can perform testing?

Type

Signs and Symptoms

Exposure Locations

Testing Availability

229E

 

NL63

 

OC43

 

HKU1

Common:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • A general feeling of being unwell

Less common:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis

Worldwide

Clinical Laboratories

 

Commercial Laboratories

 

BCL

 

CDC

MERS-CoV

Common:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia

Arabian Peninsula

BCL

 

CDC

SARS-CoV

Common:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Pneumonia

None since 2004

CDC

2019-nCoV

Common:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia (in China)

China

CDC

 

Additional Information for Healthcare Providers

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Latest Updates from Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

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Resources from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)

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Additional Resources

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Page last updated: February 13, 2020