Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans in China in 2002 and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. As surveillance improves around the world, more coronaviruses are likely to be identified
The animal source of the 2019-nCoV has not yet been identified. This does not mean you can catch 2019-nCoV from any animal or from your pet. It’s likely that an animal source from a live animal market in China was responsible for some of the first reported human infections. To protect yourself, when visiting live animal markets, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
People living or travelling in an area where the 2019-nCoV virus is circulating may be at risk of infection. At present, 2019-nCoV is circulating in China where the vast majority of people infected have been reported. Those infected from other countries are among people who have recently traveled from China or who have been living or working closely with those travellers, such as family members, co-workers or medical professionals caring for a patient before they knew the patient was infected with 2019-nCoV.
Health workers caring for persons who are sick with 2019-nCoV are at higher risk and must protect themselves with appropriate infection prevention and control procedures.
WHO is continuously monitoring the epidemiology of this outbreak to better understand where the virus is circulating and how people can protect themselves from infection. For more information, see WHO’s latest situation reports.
People with 2019-nCoV infection, the flu, or a cold typically develop respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough and runny nose. Even though many symptoms are alike, they are caused by different viruses. Because of their similarities, it can be difficult to identify the disease based on symptoms alone. That’s why laboratory tests are required to confirm if someone has 2019-nCoV.
As always, WHO recommends that people who have cough, fever and difficulty breathing should seek medical care early. Patients should inform health care providers if they have travelled in the 14 days before they developed symptoms, or if they have been in close contact with someone with who has been sick with respiratory symptoms.
No, our advice is the same. WHO has issued advice to people on how to protect themselves from 2019-nCoV infection, as for any virus that spreads via the respiratory route.
In addition, it is vitally important in health care settings that health care workers are able to protect themselves from infection. WHO guidance on infection prevention and control measures in health care facilities is here.
To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. However, those infected with 2019-nCoV should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to coordinate efforts to develop medicines to treat nCoV with a range of partners.
If you want to protect yourself from getting infected with the new coronavirus, you should maintain basic hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices and avoiding close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.The following measures ARE NOT specifically recommended as 2019-nCoV remedies as they are not effective to protect yourself and can be even harmful:
In any case, if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with your health care provider.
Issues relating to aerosol often come up when people want to know how to protect themselves from respiratory diseases. When people sneeze or cough, they may spray big droplets but the droplets do not stay suspended in the air for long. They fall. Health care procedures like intubation can spray small droplets into the air. Bigger droplets fall quickly. Smaller ones fall less quickly.
We know about environmental contamination for MERS-CoV and finding RNA in air filtration systems (but not the live virus). However, for the new coronavirus, we still need to see the data and understand how transmission has been assessed.