On January 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated travel guidance for China, recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to all of the country (Level 3 Travel Health Notice). This warning is in response to an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV) spreading between people in many parts of that country.
Chinese health officials have reported thousands of 2019-nCoV cases in China, as well as severe illness including deaths. Sustained person-to-person community spread with this virus is reportedly occurring in China.
A number of travel-associated cases of 2019-nCoV infection also have been identified in other locations, including the United States. In other parts of Asia, some limited person-to-person spread has been detected among close contacts of travelers returning from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, however, community spread with this virus has not been reported in locations outside China.
In the United States, there have been 5 cases of 2019-nCoV detected in travelers returning from Wuhan. No person-to-person spread has been detected in the United States at this time and this virus is NOT spreading in the community.
While it’s possible that some person-to-person spread with this virus may be detected in the United States, the goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to contain this outbreak and prevent sustained spread in this country.
Based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time. However, risk is dependent on exposure and some people will have greater risk of infection, for example, healthcare workers caring for 2019-nCoV patients and other close contacts. CDC is aggressively responding to this serious public health situation to help protect the health of Americans. This response may cause disruptions in some people’s daily lives. This is unfortunate, but necessary to protect the health of Americans.
As we learn more about this novel coronavirus, we will continue to update our guidance. An updated Health Alert to health care professionals and public health partners with new and updated guidance is forthcoming this week.