The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as CDC, has come across an epidemic outbreak caused by a novel coronavirus. It was initially detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and further termed as ‘2019-nCoV’.
Coronaviruses are a huge family of viruses, amongst which some of them cause diseases in humans and others create havoc in animals such as camels, cats, and bats. The Chinese authorities were the first to identify the novel virus and post that, there were hundreds of confirmed cases outside Wuhan, in other parts of China and other international countries such as the US, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea. Initially, most patients victim to the virus in Wuhan, China demanded that it had some connection to the animal & seafood market; which implied animal-to-human diffusion. Again, there was another huge class of patients who confirmed that they weren’t exposed to animal markets, thus implying person-to-person diffusion.
The very first case in the US was confirmed on January 1st, 2020.
CDC activated an emergency response system on January 21st, 2020.
What are the Criteria to evaluate the affected?
- Travel history to Wuhan, China followed by fever and symptoms of lower respiratory diseases (cough, difficulty in breathing) 14-15 days later.
- Travel history to Wuhan, China combined with close contact with a patient detected with 2019-nCoV.
Standard Measures to be taken
For Traveller Safety
It has come to notice that the outbreak is occurring due to person-to-person contact. Usually, old-aged people and adults with dormant health conditions are more vulnerable to fall for the disease. Therefore travelers are recommended to keep a few things in mind while traveling to any one of the affected areas.
- Stay away from animals(alive or dead), animal markets and avoid using any products from animals such as uncooked meat.
- Rinse your hands properly with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizers, for at least 20 minutes.
- Senior Citizens should travel with their healthcare providers.
It is still unclear how the virus is easily spreading amongst people.
For Healthcare Providers
Although the situation is presumed to be improving with each passing day, yet the reason for this outbreak is still unknown.
- The healthcare providers must conduct a thorough study on the travel history for the patients investigated with fever and respiratory diseases.
- If there is a PUI for 2019-nCoV, the Infection Control Personnel at their healthcare institutions or health department should be notified immediately.
- Patients should wear surgical masks as soon as they are detected with the virus, and isolated in a private room with closed doors. Wear hazmat suits, eye protection and masks to visit them, if needed.
For Laboratory facilities
- Every laboratory staff must wear standard Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including lab-coats, disposable gloves, and eye protection glasses while handling an infected specimen.
- Decontaminate every workspace and lab table-tops with disinfectants.
- Autoclave all the disposable wastes.
The risks arising from the coronavirus outbreaks largely depends on the characteristics of the virus itself, including its medium of transfer(animal or human), rate of transfer and availability of measures to control its impacts, such as vaccines or medication treatments. CDC recommends that it is better to take precautions such as surgical masks, hand sanitizers, etc. than to fall prey to the virus whose cause is yet unknown.