CDC recommends guidance to healthcare professionals on coronavirus care

Feb. 3, 2020

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) is providing guidance to healthcare providers on response and care with c2019-nCoV. Limited information is available to characterize the spectrum of clinical illness associated with 2019-nCoV. No vaccine or specific treatment for 2019-nCoV infection is available; care is supportive. The CDC clinical criteria for a 2019-nCoV patient under investigation (PUI) have been developed based on what is known about MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV and are subject to change as additional information becomes available.

Healthcare providers should obtain a detailed travel history for patients being evaluated with fever and acute respiratory illness. CDC guidance for evaluating and reporting a PUI for MERS-CoV remains unchanged. Patients in the United States who meet the following criteria should be evaluated as a PUI for 2019-nCoV:

·        Fever1 or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g. cough or shortness of breath) AND Any person, including health care workers, who has had close contact2 with a laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient within 14 days of symptom onset

·         Fever1 and signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) AND A history of travel from Hubei Province, China5 within 14 days of symptom onset

·         Fever1 and signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) requiring hospitalization    AND A history of travel from mainland China5 within 14 days of symptom onset

The criteria are intended to serve as guidance for evaluation. Patients should be evaluated and discussed with public health departments on a case-by-case basis if their clinical presentation or exposure history is equivocal (e.g., uncertain travel or exposure).

Further recommendations updated January 17, 2020 include:

·         Healthcare providers should immediately notify both infection control personnel at their healthcare facility and their local or state health department in the event of a PUI for 2019-nCoV. State health departments that have identified a PUI should immediately contact CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 770-488-7100 and complete a 2019-nCoV PUI case investigation form.

·         CDC’s EOC will assist local/state health departments to collect, store, and ship specimens appropriately to CDC, including during afterhours or on weekends/holidays. At this time, diagnostic testing for 2019-nCoV can be conducted only at CDC.

·         Testing for other respiratory pathogens should not delay specimen shipping to CDC. If a PUI tests positive for another respiratory pathogen, after clinical evaluation and consultation with public health authorities, they may no longer be considered a PUI. This may evolve as more information becomes available on possible 2019-nCoV co-infections.

·         For biosafety reasons, it is not recommended to perform virus isolation in cell culture or initial characterization of viral agents recovered in cultures of specimens from a PUI for 2019-nCoV.

·         To increase the likelihood of detecting 2019-nCoV infection, CDC recommends collecting and testing multiple clinical specimens from different sites, including all three specimen types—lower respiratory, upper respiratory, and serum specimens. Additional specimen types (e.g., stool, urine) may be collected and stored. Specimens should be collected as soon as possible once a

PUI is identified regardless of time of symptom onset. Additional guidance for collection, handling, and testing of clinical specimens is available.

CDC has the statement.