The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today confirmed the second infection with 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the United States has been detected in Illinois. The patient recently returned from Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by this novel coronavirus has been ongoing since December 2019.
The patient returned to the U.S. from Wuhan on January 13, 2020, and called a health care provider after experiencing symptoms a few days later. The patient was admitted to a hospital, where infection control measures were taken to reduce the risk of transmission to other individuals. The patient remains hospitalized in an isolation room in stable condition and is doing well.
Based on the patient’s travel history and symptoms, health care professionals suspected 2019-nCoV. A clinical specimen was collected and sent to CDC, where laboratory testing confirmed the infection. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) are investigating locations where this patient went after returning to Illinois and are identifying any close contacts who were possibly exposed. The patient has limited close contacts, all of whom are currently well and who will be monitored for symptoms. Since returning from China, the patient has had very limited movement outside the home.
CDC is taking aggressive public health measures to help protect the health of Americans. While CDC considers this a serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time. CDC is working closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and other local partners. A CDC team has been deployed to support the ongoing investigation.
However, CDC has been proactively preparing for the introduction of 2019-nCoV in the U.S. for weeks, including:
- First alerting clinicians on January 8 to be on the look-out for patients with respiratory symptoms and a history of travel to Wuhan, China.
- Developing guidance for clinicians for testing and management of 2019-nCoV, as well as guidance for home care of patients with 2019-nCoV.
- Has developed a diagnostic test to detect this virus in clinical specimens. Currently, testing must take place at CDC, but CDC is preparing to share these test kits with domestic and international partners.
- Implementing public health entry screening at Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO) airports. CDC is currently evaluating the extent and duration of this enhanced screening.
- CDC has activated its Emergency Operations Center to better provide ongoing support.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people, such as has been seen with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Investigations are ongoing to learn more, but person-to-person spread of 2019-nCoV is occurring.
It is likely there will be more cases reported in the U.S. in the coming days and weeks. CDC will continue to update the public as circumstances warrant. While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, there are simple daily precautions that everyone should always take. It is currently flu and respiratory disease season, and CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed. Right now, CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China. In addition, CDC recommends people traveling to China practice certain health precautions like avoiding contact with people who are sick and practicing good hand hygiene.
For more information about the current outbreak in China, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. For travel health information, visit https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/pneumonia-china.