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Traveling to China? Protect yourself from the Wuhan Coronavirus

There is an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness first identified in Wuhan, China, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. So far, almost 900 people are dead as a result of the virus and close to 3000 people worldwide are infected.

Person-to-person spread is occurring. Other parts of China have also reported cases.

Older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease.

The situation is evolving. This notice will be updated as more information becomes available.

The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention has issued the guidelines below to keep yourself protected if you are in China or traveling out of China.

What is the current situation?

A novel (new) coronavirus is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness that began in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This outbreak began in early December 2019 and continues to grow. Initially some patients were linked to the Wuhan South China Seafood City (also called the South China Seafood Wholesale Market and the Hua Nan Seafood Market).

Chinese health officials have reported thousands of cases throughout China, primarily in Hubei Province, including the city of Wuhan, and severe illness has been reported, including deaths. CDC recommends that travelers avoid non-essential travel to Hubei Province, China, including Wuhan.

Cases also have been identified in travelers from Wuhan to other parts of China and the world, including the United States. Person-to-person spread is occurring in China. The extent of person-to-person spread outside of China is unclear at this time. Signs and symptoms of this illness include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Available information suggests that older adults and persons with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. There are several known coronaviruses that infect people and usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. However, at least two previously identified coronaviruses have caused severe disease — severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus.

In response to this outbreak, Chinese officials are screening travelers leaving some cities in China. Several countries and territories throughout the world are reported to have implemented health screening of travelers arriving from China.

On arrival to the United States, travelers from China may be asked questions to determine if they need to undergo health screening, including having their temperature taken and being asked to fill out a symptom questionnaire. Travelers with signs and symptoms of illness (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing) will have an additional health assessment

What can travelers do to protect themselves and others?

CDC recommends that travelers avoid non-essential travel to Hubei Province, China, including Wuhan. Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of many cities in Hubei Province, including buses, subways, trains, and the airport.

There is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas. Remain alert if traveling to other parts of China by practicing the precautions below.

Travelers to China should:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Discuss travel to China with their healthcare provider. Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

If you traveled to China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
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