With news spreading about the Coronavirus, I want to share some information the Virginia Department of Health relayed from the Centers for Disease Control below. There were two suspected cases reported in Central Virginia last week, but both have been tested and were negative for the Coronavirus.
Right now there is no cause for alarm at Longwood and no suspected cases have been reported. We know of no one in the campus community who has traveled to Wuhan. The incubation period on this virus is believed to be 2-14 days. As with any virus, practicing good hygiene can help prevent its spread, including:
- Washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then discard the tissue
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces like doorknobs
The University Health Center is still offering flu shots to students, faculty, and staff. Longwood community members can walk into the health center without an appointment for the flu vaccine.
Q: What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
A: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Q: What is the source of 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
A: Public health officials and partners are working hard to identify the source of the 2019-nCoV. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting the virus likely emerged from an animal source. Analysis of the genetic tree of this virus is ongoing to know the specific source of the virus. SARS, another coronavirus that emerged to infect people, came from civit cats, while MERS, another coronavirus that emerged to infect people, came from camels.
Q: What are the symptoms and complications that Novel Coronavirus 2019 can cause?
A: Current symptoms reported for patients with 2019-nCoV have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever1, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Q: How does the virus spread?
A: This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person. When person-to-person spread has occurred with MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of MERS and SARS between people has generally occurred between close contacts.
Q: Has anyone in the United States gotten infected?
A: Yes. The first infection with 2019-nCoV in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020.
Q: Am I at risk for 2019-nCoV infection in the United States?
A: This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily.
Q: Is there a vaccine?
A: Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against 2019-nCoV.