An outbreak of a new coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China has resulted in close to 300 confirmed cases in China, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries. On January 21, federal health officials confirmed the first case outside of Asia. A man from the state of Washington who recently traveled to China was hospitalized. In response, American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer Albert Rizzo issued the following statement:
“A new coronavirus has spread to several other countries and has been identified as a cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses. This coronavirus causes pneumonia-like symptoms, as well as fever and cough with varying degrees of severity. The virus spreads from person to person, but it is unclear at this time how easily the virus is spreading from one human to another. The virus does not respond to antibiotic treatment.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the developments around this new virus, and there are ongoing investigations to learn more. To prevent the spread of the disease, several countries, including the United States, are actively screening incoming travelers from Wuhan.
“Standard recommendations to prevent the spread of disease include avoiding people who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you are sick, stay home and avoid crowds and contact with others. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and disinfect the objects and surfaces you touch.
“CDC recommends that healthcare providers consider pneumonia related to the cluster for patients with severe respiratory symptoms who have traveled to Wuhan since December 1, 2019, and had onset of illness within two weeks of returning. In particular for those who do not have another known diagnosis that would explain their illness. CDC currently recommends a cautious approach to symptomatic patients with a history of travel to Wuhan.
“The American Lung Association is closely following reports issued by CDC and will help relay important public health information provided by the agency.”
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.