The 2019-nCoV is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. It is a betacoronavirus with some similarities to the SARS virus of 2003. The main symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breathe, although there have been cases with diarrhea and nausea, headache, and myalgias. Human to human spread has now been documented. Since this is a virus, antibiotics are not usually helpful and supportive care such as respiratory management and fluids, as well as isolation or quarantine, are being used. Two antiviral medications (Remdesiver and lopinavir-ritonavir) are drugs currently being used as investigational antiviral therapy.
The outbreak began in Wuhan China in November or December and the first reported case was in December. Although the Chinese government acted quickly to identify the virus and make it’s genetic sequencing available to other countries, many Chinese from Wuhan had already left the country for the Lunar New Year celebration with family. Currently, there are 12 cases in the U.S. as well as cases in Asia and Europe.
The CDC has a protocol for monitoring patients with fever and respiratory symptoms who have traveled to Wuhan or been contacts of patients in any country who have been diagnosed with 2019 nCoV.
Currently, the CDC is advising people to: wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; cough into your arm; stay home if you are ill. (The same advice applies to protecting yourself from the flu).