JOURNAL ARTICLE

Persons Evaluated for 2019 Novel Coronavirus - United States, January 2020

Kristina L Bajema, Alexandra M Oster, Olivia L McGovern, Stephen Lindstrom, Mark R Stenger, Tara C Anderson, Cheryl Isenhour, Kevin R Clarke, Mary E Evans, Victoria T Chu, Holly M Biggs, Hannah L Kirking, Susan I Gerber, Aron J Hall, Alicia M Fry, Sara E Oliver
MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2020 February 14, 69 (6): 166-170
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In December 2019, a cluster of cases of pneumonia emerged in Wuhan City in central China's Hubei Province. Genetic sequencing of isolates obtained from patients with pneumonia identified a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as the etiology (1). As of February 4, 2020, approximately 20,000 confirmed cases had been identified in China and an additional 159 confirmed cases in 23 other countries, including 11 in the United States (2,3). On January 17, CDC and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection began health screenings at U.S. airports to identify ill travelers returning from Wuhan City (4). CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center on January 21 and formalized a process for inquiries regarding persons suspected of having 2019-nCoV infection (2). As of January 31, 2020, CDC had responded to clinical inquiries from public health officials and health care providers to assist in evaluating approximately 650 persons thought to be at risk for 2019-nCoV infection. Guided by CDC criteria for the evaluation of persons under investigation (PUIs) (5), 210 symptomatic persons were tested for 2019-nCoV; among these persons, 148 (70%) had travel-related risk only, 42 (20%) had close contact with an ill laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient or PUI, and 18 (9%) had both travel- and contact-related risks. Eleven of these persons had laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection. Recognizing persons at risk for 2019-nCoV is critical to identifying cases and preventing further transmission. Health care providers should remain vigilant and adhere to recommended infection prevention and control practices when evaluating patients for possible 2019-nCoV infection (6). Providers should consult with their local and state health departments when assessing not only ill travelers from 2019-nCoV-affected countries but also ill persons who have been in close contact with patients with laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection in the United States.

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