This is a rapidly evolving situation and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) will provide updates as they become available.
In December 2019, Chinese health officials announced they were investigating a pneumonia outbreak of unknown etiology (cause) in the city of Wuhan, China.
At that time, it was reported that many of the cases were linked to a seafood and animal market in Wuhan. Since then, health officials have reported that the outbreak was caused by a novel coronavirus, which was later named 2019-nCoV.
Since then, thousands of cases have been reported and some cases have been fatal. Cases of 2019-nCoV have been identified elsewhere in China, and in other countries, including in the United States.
While a majority of cases have been linked to the city of Wuhan, there is evidence of person-to-person spread both inside and outside of Wuhan.
There are many viruses in the coronavirus family that can cause illness in both humans and animals. Several coronaviruses commonly circulate among people all of the time, and cause mild to moderate illnesses, such as the common cold.
Other coronaviruses commonly circulate only in animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people as has been seen with MERS and SARS.
Symptoms of 2019-nCoV Infection
Commonly reported symptoms of 2019-nCoV infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and/or Pneumonia.
While the exact incubation period for this coronavirus has not yet been determined, it is believed that most infected people will develop symptoms 2-14 days after they were exposed.
Many of the patients in the pneumonia outbreak caused by 2019-nCov in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, person-to-person spread is now occurring.
There is no vaccine available for 2019-nCoV. In general, people can protect themselves and others against respiratory viruses by taking the following precautions:
Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap & water.
Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Practice good health habits.
It’s not too late to get your flu shot! While the influenza vaccine does not protect against coronavirus infection, it can help keep you healthy during the flu season.
Currently, testing for 2019-nCoV must be done at the CDC. Clinical laboratories do not have the ability to test for this particular virus, though they do have the ability to test for the other, more common coronaviruses that circulate in people all the time.
People infected with the 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care. There is no specific antiviral treatment for 2019-nCoV.
Guidance for people who recently traveled to China
Public health authorities have implemented travel procedures for travelers from China arriving in the United States.
CDC guidance for travelers from other parts of China (outside Hubei Province) in the past 14 days includes:
If you have fever, cough, or trouble breathing: CDC staff at the airport will evaluate you for illness. You will be taken to a medical facility for further evaluation and care. You may not be able to complete your travel itinerary.
If you do not have symptoms: You will be allowed to reach your final destination. After arrival at your final destination, you will be asked to monitor your health for a period of 14 days from the time you left China.
You will receive a health information card that tells you what symptoms to look for and what to do if you develop symptoms. During that time, you should stay home and limit interactions with others as much as possible. Your state or local health department will contact you for further follow up.
Guidance for travelers from the Hubei Province, and other resources for returning travelers are available on the CDC Information for Travelers website.