The Centers for Disease control and the Virginia Department of Health are closely monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (named “2019-nCoV”) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which continues to expand. Chinese health officials have reported thousands of infections with 2019-nCoV in China, with the virus reportedly spreading from person-to-person in many parts of that country. Infections with 2019-nCoV, most of them associated with travel from Wuhan, also are being reported in a growing number of international locations, including the United States. Currently there are cases in 4 states. There were 3 suspected cases in Virginia. While two of the cases have been ruled out, the suspected case in Fairfax county is not yet identified.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS and SARS.
The 2019-nCoV will start with symptoms like a flu like upper respiratory illness. Confounding this situation is that we currently are at “widespread” levels of influenza in the state of Virginia. Our practice has seen multiple cases of influenza, even in immunized patients. We have had two patients admitted to the hospital with suspected influenza, one laboratory confirmed. We have also had two patients in our practice admitted to the hospital with confirmed Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
Currently the situation with the 2019-nCoV is evolving. It is unclear how widespread this will be and how transmissible the virus is from person to person. Due to the number of upper respiratory illness present in the community however, common sense infection control measures should be practiced and anyone with a febrile upper respiratory illness should be contacting the office.
Recommendations for avoiding upper respiratory illnesses:
- Wash your hands frequently. Teach your children the importance of hand-washing.
- Use disinfectant hand wipes and wash, especially on items such as shopping carts in stores. Wear gloves going in stores and grabbing door handles. Wash hands before eating.
- Avoid exposure. Limit your contact with people who have fevers or colds. People with compromised immune systems or on immune suppressing drugs should be extra careful.
- Keep things clean. Make sure kitchen and bathroom countertops are clean. Discard used tissues right away.
- Don’t share drinking glasses with others. Use your own glass or disposable cups when you or someone else is sick. Label each person’s cup.
- Wash toys regularly if you have children. Do this especially when your child or a playmate is sick.
- Cover your mouth when you cough.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the office.
Dr. Long and Staff