By Mr. Kirk Frady (Regional Health Command Europe)January 29, 2020
SEMBACH KASERNE, Germany -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Military Health System, and the U.S. Army Public Health Center are closely monitoring developments around the recent outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with these type viruses at some point in their lives. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Symptoms may include:
• Runny nose
• Sore throat
• A general feeling of being unwell
Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults.
HOW IT IS TRANSMITTED
As with most viruses, human coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person to others by the following means:
• Through the air by coughing and sneezing.
• Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
• Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are currently no vaccines available to protect against human coronavirus infection. However, there are simple steps that can be taken to protect yourself and others. To reduce your risk of infection, or transmitting the virus to others, public health officials recommend the following steps:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home while you are sick.
There are currently no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. Medications for pain and fever can help relieve symptoms. If you are mildly ill, drink plenty of fluids, stay home, and rest.
If you have flu-like symptoms and have recently travelled to China, or been in direct contact with a person known to be infected with the virus, seek medical care. Your health care provider will order appropriate tests, if needed, and determine if additional precautions should be taken.
For more information on the novel corona virus, please visit:
U.S. Army Public Health Center: https://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/discond/diseases/Pages/2019-nCoVChina.aspx
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html