GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Health officials say the new coronavirus has killed more than 900 people and infected more than 40,000 others globally, with the vast majority in Mainland China. The CDC is closely monitoring at least 12 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States. There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
The World Health Organization is offering the following advice to the public as basic protective measures against the new coronavirus:
Wash your hands frequently: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub eliminates the virus if it is on your hands.
Practice respiratory hygiene: When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. Why? Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing prevent the spread of germs and viruses. If you sneeze or cough into your hands, you may contaminate objects or people that you touch.
Maintain social distancing: Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. Why? When someone who is infected with a respiratory disease, like 2019-nCoV, coughs or sneezes they project small droplets containing the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Why? Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early: Tell your health care provider if you have traveled in an area in China where 2019-nCoV has been reported, or if you have been in close contact with someone with who has traveled from China and has respiratory symptoms. Why? Whenever you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing it's important to seek medical attention promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Respiratory symptoms with fever can have a range of causes, and depending on your personal travel history and circumstances, 2019-nCoV could be one of them.
If you have mild respiratory symptoms and no travel history to or within China: If you have mild respiratory symptoms and no travel history to or within China, carefully practice basic respiratory and hand hygiene and stay home until you are recovered, if possible.
As a general precaution: Practice general hygiene measures when visiting live animal markets, wet markets or animal product markets. Ensure regular hand washing with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products; avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands; and avoid contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products. Strictly avoid any contact with other animals in the market (e.g., stray cats and dogs, rodents, birds, bats). Avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the soil or structures of shops and market facilities.
Avoid consumption of raw or undercooked animal products: Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.