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CDC Updates Guidance Regarding Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

January 22, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released new guidance for health care providers regarding the evaluation of patients with suspected novel coronavirus in response to the ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

At present, over 200 cases have been reported in China, including 3 deaths. Cases have also been reported in Japan, Thailand, and South Korea among individuals who had recently traveled to Wuhan City. Currently, no spread from patient to health care providers has been reported, although Chinese authorities are not able to totally rule out the possibility of limited person-to-person spread.

Among the recommendations:

  • A detailed travel history should be obtained for patients being evaluated for fever and acute respiratory illness.
  • Patients in the US who have fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness and who have a history of travel from Wuhan City or close contact with a patient under investigation for the novel coronavirus, as well as those with fever or lower respiratory symptoms and close contact with a laboratory-confirmed case of the novel coronavirus should be evaluated as a patient under investigation in association with the outbreak.
  • Infection control personnel and local/state health departments should be notified immediately of any patients under investigation for the novel coronavirus.
  • Patients under investigation should be asked to wear a surgical mask and evaluated in a private, closed room. Eye protection and standard contact precautions should be utilized by health care providers.

—Michael Potts


Update and Interim Guidance on Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan, China [press release]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. January 17, 2020. Accessed January 21, 2020.

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