Dear friends –
The current outbreak of a lethal coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV) in central China has put our Chinese community at risk, particularly in light of high travel volume between the US and China. Two days ago, the first US case was confirmed in Seattle, WA. The patient was a male who had recently returned from Wuhan, the epicenter of this outbreak. Cases have also been confirmed in Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and South Korea. Information and resources can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html
Although CDC has activated its emergency response system and is screening passengers at 3 US ports of entry from Wuhan, we must remain vigilant and informed to ensure the safety of our community. Information on preventing transmission can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/about/prevention.html
Prevention is extremely important. There is no vaccine or specific treatment available for the 2019-nCoV.
The Maryland Department of Health recommends the following:
1. Ask all patients about recent travel, particularly those with fever and acute respiratory illness.
2. Immediately report to your local health department any patients who meet criteria for a Patient Under Investigation (PUI) for 2019-nCoV, or any patient for whom clinical presentation or exposure history is equivocal.
PUI criteria are online at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/clinical-criteria.html , and as follows:
1) Fever AND symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) –and in the last 14 days before symptom onset,
· History of travel from Wuhan City, China -or-
· Close contact with a person who is under investigation for 2019-nCOV while that person was ill.
2) Fever OR symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) –and in the last 14 days before symptom onset,
• Close contact with an ill laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient.
3. Closely follow infection prevention and control recommendations:
· Ask all PUI for 2019-nCoV to wear a surgical mask as soon as they are identified.
· Evaluate all PUI in a private room with the door closed, ideally an airborne infection isolation room if available.
· Health care providers entering the room of a PUI should use standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions and eye protection.
4. Immediately notify your local health department in the event of a PUI for 2019-nCoV. If you are unable to immediately reach your local health department, notify the Maryland Department of Health at 410-767-6700 during working hours or at 410-795-7365 after working hours.
You can also call the local Department of Health, Communicable diseases reporting lines:
· 410-396-4436 Maryland
· 804-864-8141 Virginia
· 202-442-8141 Washington DC
If a PUI needs to go to the ER, please call the ER first and report the exposure history before patient arrives.
Try not to visit doctor office or urgent care directly and avoid possible spreading of this highly contagious virus.
Take care and God bless our community.
Association of Chinese American Physicians, Mid-Atlantic Chapter