Am I at risk for 2019-nCoV infection in the United States?
This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily. The latest updates are available on CDC’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus website.
Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including whether and how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccine or treatment medications).
This is a serious public health threat. The fact that this virus has caused severe illness and sustained person-to-person spread in China is concerning, but it’s unclear how the situation in the United States will unfold at this time.
The risk to individuals is dependent on exposure. At this time, some people will have an increased risk of infection, for example healthcare workers caring for 2019-nCoV patients and other close contacts. For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV is considered low.
More cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. Given what has occurred previously with MERS and SARS, it’s likely that person-to-person spread will occur, including in the United States.
- CDC is closely monitoring this situation and is working with WHO and state and local public health partners to respond to this emerging public health threat.
- The goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to contain this outbreak and prevent sustained spread of 2019-nCov in this country.
- CDC established a 2019-nCoV Incident Management Structure on January 7, 2020. On January 21, 2020, CDC activated its Emergency Response System to better provide ongoing support to the 2019-nCoV response.
- On January 27, 2020 CDC issued updated travel guidance for China, recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to all of the country (Level 3 Travel Health Notice).
- CDC and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are continuing to conduct enhanced entry screening of passengers who have been in Wuhan within the past 14 days at 5 designated U.S. airports. Given travel out of Wuhan has been shut down, the number of passengers who meet this criteria are dwindling.
- Going forward, CBP officials will monitor for travelers with symptoms compatible with 2019-nCoV infection and a travel connection with China and will refer them to CDC staff for evaluation at all 20 U.S. quarantine stations.
- At the same time, ALL travelers from China will be given CDC’s Travel Health Alert Notice, educating those travelers about what to do if they get sick with certain symptoms within 14 days after arriving in the United States.
- CDC issued an updated interim Health Alert Notice (HAN) Advisory to inform state and local health departments and health care providers about this outbreak on January 17, 2020.
- CDC has deployed multidisciplinary teams to Washington, Illinois, California, and Arizona to assist health departments with clinical management, contact tracing, and communications.
- CDC has developed a real time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) test that can diagnose 2019-nCoV in respiratory and serum samples from clinical specimens. On January 24, 2020, CDC publicly posted the assay protocol for this test. Currently, testing for this virus must take place at CDC, but in the coming days and weeks, CDC will share these tests with domestic and international partners through the agency’s International Reagent Resourceexternal icon.
- CDC uploaded the entire genome of the virus from all five reported cases in the United States to GenBank.
- CDC also is growing the virus in cell culture, which is necessary for further studies, including for additional genetic characterization.
While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
- For everyone: It’s 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.
- For healthcare professionals:
- Be on the look-out for people with travel history to China and fever and respiratory symptoms.
- If you are a healthcare professional caring a 2109-nCoV patient, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
- For people who may have 2019-nCoV infection: Please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others.
- For travelers: Stay up to date with CDC’s travel health notices related to this outbreak.