The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is closely monitoring an outbreak of a novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV) primarily associated with travel to Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Since December 2019, China has reported hundreds of cases of 2019-nCoV, including more than a dozen deaths.
The virus likely jumped from an animal at a live animal market in Wuhan to humans attending the market, and the virus is now confirmed to be spreading from person-to-person. A handful of cases have occurred outside of China in individuals who reported recent travel to Wuhan.
On Tuesday, Jan. 21, the first case of 2019-nCoV was identified in the U.S. in a person in Washington State who had recently traveled to Wuhan. There have not been any cases identified in California at this time.
Coronaviruses primarily cause respiratory illness in people, including fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Severe illness can lead to pneumonia and, in rare cases, death. There is no treatment for coronaviruses; however, healthcare facilities can minimize transmission and help prevent more severe illness. Transmission from an infected person to others can occur through coughing and sneezing, close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands, or touching a surface or object that has the virus on it followed by touching your mouth or eyes before washing your hands.
Last week, airports in New York and San Francisco, and Los Angeles began screening passengers arriving from Wuhan, China. Those who are symptomatic at the time of screening will undergo medical evaluation and testing, while those who are not ill at the time of screening will be provided with information on how to seek medical care if they do become ill while in the U.S.
While the threat of 2019-nCoV in Long Beach remains low, the Health Department is closely monitoring the situation and is in constant communication with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), local hospital emergency departments, urgent care centers and local providers to obtain and provide the most updated guidance.
The Health Department urges individuals to disclose any recent travel to Wuhan, China to their providers if they develop symptoms such as fever or respiratory symptoms, and providers are encouraged to ask patients about their travel history and report any suspected cases of 2019-nCoV to the Health Department immediately.
For the most up-to-date information on 2019-nCoV, visit www.longbeach.gov/novelcoronavirus.
Media inquiries can be directed to Jennifer A. Gonzalez, Outreach & Risk Communication Specialist, Department of Health & Human Services, 562.570.4290, Jennifer.Gonzalez@longbeach.gov.
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