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Region’s first potential cases of coronavirus reported at Miami University: CDC says risk remains low

KyForward staff

Miami University Student Health Services have notified the Butler County General Health District (BCGHD) in Ohio of two possible cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Both possible cases had recently traveled and returned from China. Both possible cases are not severely ill and currently in isolation to keep the illness from spreading. Samples were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Monday afternoon.

Unless you have recently traveled from China or have been around someone ill with this new virus, your risk of getting sick is low. If you have traveled from China and are, experiencing signs and symptoms contact your doctor BEFORE going to the office. Miami students, who meet this criteria, and are experiencing signs or symptoms contact Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 before seeking care.

Public health officials have described the immediate health risk to the campus community as low. BCGHD continues to work closely with Miami University Student Health Services and the Ohio Department of Health to monitor the novel (new) coronavirus that has emerged from Wuhan, China, over the past few weeks.

“This is what public health does and why we train,” said Jennifer Bailer, health commissioner for the Butler County Health District. “Our staff, officials at Miami University and the Ohio Department of Health are taking every precaution to keep the community safe. The same precautions that protect against catching and spreading the flu are likely to be helpful for this respiratory virus: Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your nose and eyes, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze and don’t go to work if ill. Displaying compassion to all people will be vital as the situation evolves.”

This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available. Guidance on the virus is available on the Centers for Disease Control website, www.cdc.gov.

The CDC issued the following statement Tuesday regarding travel to China in light of the outbreak:

On January 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated travel guidance for China, recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to all of the country (Level 3 Travel Health Notice).

This warning is in response to an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV) spreading between people in many parts of that country.

Chinese health officials have reported thousands of 2019-nCoV cases in China, as well as severe illness including deaths. Sustained person-to-person community spread with this virus is reportedly occurring in China.

A number of travel-associated cases of 2019-nCoV infection also have been identified in other locations, including the United States. In other parts of Asia, some limited person-to-person spread has been detected among close contacts of travelers returning from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, however, community spread with this virus has not been reported in locations outside China.

In the United States, there have been 5 cases of 2019-nCoV detected in travelers returning from Wuhan. No person-to-person spread has been detected in the United States at this time and this virus is NOT spreading in the community.

While it’s possible that some person-to-person spread with this virus may be detected in the United States, the goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to contain this outbreak and prevent sustained spread in this country.

Based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time.

However, risk is dependent on exposure and some people will have greater risk of infection, for example, healthcare workers caring for 2019-nCoV patients and other close contacts.

CDC is aggressively responding to this serious public health situation to help protect the health of Americans. This response may cause disruptions in some people’s daily lives.

This is unfortunate, but necessary to protect the health of Americans.

As we learn more about this novel coronavirus, we will continue to update our guidance. An updated Health Alert to health care professionals and public health partners with new and updated guidance is forthcoming this week.

For the latest information on the outbreak, visit CDC’s Novel Coronavirus 2019 website.

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