CDC Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions

Level 2 Travel Alert Issued Regarding China’s 2019-nCoV Outbreak

Airport passengers screening for 2019nCoV active at ATL, JFK, LAX, ORD, and SFO airports

people with flu protective masks on a scooter

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increased its existing Travel Alert status to Level 2 regarding the ongoing Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak in the Peoples Republic of China.

On January 21, 2020, the CDC announced the ‘2019-nCoV’ outbreak is now confirmed to be spreading between people living in and visiting China. The majority of pneumonia cases have been reported near the city of Wahun, Hubei Province, China, since December 31, 2019.

Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China, and the most populous city in Central China, with a population of about 11 million.

As of January 22, 2020, China reported 544 cases of 2019-nCoV, with 137 suspected cases pending, 28 people have been 'cured', and 17 related fatalities.

To reduce the further spreading of the virus, health officials in Wahun City began inspecting cars when entering and departing for people with 2019-nCoV symptoms on January 22nd.

And, effective on January 23rd, Wuhan City Epidemic Prevention and Control Headquarters Notice No. 1 becomes effective. The city's urban bus, subway, ferry, and long-distance passenger transportation are suspended Operation. And the airport and railway station from the Han corridor is temporarily closed. Citizens should not leave Wuhan without a 'special reason.'

Local media reported Wuhan's mayor said 'At present, we have resolutely banned any large-scale activities, gathering of people, canceled tourist groups traveling to home and abroad, strictly prohibited the transportation of various types of live birds and wild animals into the city, and severely cracked down on various illegal and illegal transportation activities.'

Unfortunately, there are no preventive vaccines or medications for treating the 2019-nCoV available today.

Additionally, the CDC’s Practice Enhance Precations’ Travel Alert says ‘Travelers from the city of Wuhan, China, arriving in the USA, could be asked questions about their health and travel history upon arrival and may undergo health screening, including having their temperature taken and filling out a symptom questionnaire.’ 

‘Arriving travelers with signs and symptoms of illness will have additional health assessments and could be ‘quarantined’ during the evaluation process.’

Should US citizens require assistance, the U.S. Consulate General Wuhan is located at New World International Trade Tower I, No. 568, Jianshe Avenue, Hankou, Wuhan 430022, China. Telephone: +(86)(027) 8555-7791. Please note that Wuhan does not provide regularly scheduled consular services.

On January 17th, the CDC announced passenger screening would be launched at JFK, LAX, and SFO airports.  And, the Chicago and Atlanta airports have been added to this screening program.

“The investigations into this novel coronavirus are ongoing and we are monitoring and responding to this evolving situation,” said Martin Cetron, M.D., Director of CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, in a statement.

Entry screening is part of a layered approach used with other public health measures already in place to detect arriving travelers who are sick, such as detection and reporting of ill travelers by airlines during travel and referral of ill travelers arriving at a US port of entry by Customs and Border Protection.

The CDC suggests healthcare providers should obtain a detailed travel history for patients with fever and respiratory symptoms who traveled to China on or after December 1, 2019, and consider the novel coronavirus outbreak when evaluating patients with these symptoms.

Furthermore, healthcare providers should immediately notify infection control personnel and your local health department, if a patient meets these criteria.

The USA’s initial 2019-nCoV case was confirmed on January 21, 2020.

Health officials identified the infected person as a man in his 30s from Snohomish County, Washington. The man had traveled from Wuhan to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport and reported to the Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington. 

A clinical specimen was collected and sent to CDC overnight. 

A CDC team was deployed to support the ongoing investigation, including tracing close contacts to determine if anyone else has become ill with 2019-nCoV symptoms.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases, says the CDC. Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s.

The 2019-nCoV has features typical of the coronavirus family and was placed in the Betacoronavirus 2b lineage.

There are 2 other, well-known, CoV viruses, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

MERS-CoV continues to impact people in Asia, primarily the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Furthermore, there are 2 MERS vaccine candidates in the early stages of human-based clinical trials: GLS-5300/INO-4700 MERS-CoV Vaccine and ChAdOx1 MERS MERS-CoV Vaccine.

But, these vaccine candidates could be years away from gaining commercial authorization.

CNN reported on January 20, 2020, that Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said: "The NIH is in the process of taking the first steps towards the development of a vaccine, and it would take a few months until the first phase of the clinical trials get underway and more than a year until a vaccine might be available."

UPDATE:  On January 23, 2020, the CDC issued a separate Level 3 Travel Alert focused on Wuhan City, China. The CDC now recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China. Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan, including buses, subways, trains, and the international airport.

Coronavirus travel alerts published by Vax-Before-Travel.