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Coronavirus Information

What is the Coronavirus – The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus, first detected in Wuhan, China. It has not been previously known to spread in humans.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) are examples of coronaviruses.

How is the 2019-nCoV spread – When the outbreak in Wuhan, China began, many patients reported links to a large seafood and animal market. This suggested that it was spread from animals to people. However, on Thursday, January 30, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that 2019-nCoV has spread between two people in the United States.

Currently, it’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people. When other coronaviruses like MERS and SARS spread between people, it is thought to have happened when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.

What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV – Symptoms include fever and respiratory illness, such as cough and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, the infection can cause bronchitis, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

How to prevent 2019-nCov  from spreading –  The Centers for Disease Control does not currently recommend the use of face masks to help prevent novel coronavirus.  Instead, take these actions to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses:

  • cover your cough or sneeze
  • wash your hands often with soap and water
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, and
  • stay home when you are sick.

Additional Resources:

Public Health Media Library

Guidance for Travelers

Information for Laboratorians

Information for Health Care Provider

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Fact Sheet

World Health Organization video