Protect yourself: Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) facts

  • Published
  • By Staff Reports
  • Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness issued a memorandum Jan. 30 regarding force health protection guidance for the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) follows regularly updated CDC​, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for this outbreak.

 The Coronavirus is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

 Patients with 2019-nCoV have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

 While the immediate risk of the virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to respond to the emerging public health threat. Because it is currently influenza and respiratory disease season, CDC recommends getting an influenza vaccine, and continuing everyday preventative actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking influenza antivirals if prescribed.

 Per CDC, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. DoD personnel and their families can reduce risk by appropriately washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and if hand soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and avoid close contact with those who are sick.

 Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should stay home. If you were in China within the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should get medical care. Call the office of your health care provider before you go and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t go out and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.

 The CDC noted on its website that it is closely monitoring the situation and working with the World Health Organization and state and local public health partners to respond to this emerging public health threat and contain it.

The CDC has also provided answers to frequently asked questions.

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Defense Health Agency