The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new respiratory virus that was first identified in Wuhan, China. Believed to have started through an animal source, the virus is now spreading from person to person. The infection rate continues to rise globally, and as with any new virus, public health is of top concern.
Experts from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing offer key thoughts for health professionals and citizens alike on how to prevent illness, while remaining ready to tackle an unfolding outbreak.
Perhaps the most important thing right now for U.S. residents is that they perceive a sense a risk from an infectious agent. Everyone should take measures to reduce their risk of acquiring the more common infections that circulate this time of year, namely influenza and the common cold."
Paula Nersesian, PhD, MPH, RN, public health nurse
And simple preventive measures can go a long way.
"Consistently use good hygiene practices such as handwashing and avoiding touching one's face, especially the nose, mouth, and eyes, since they are entry points for respiratory viruses."
Tener Veenema, PhD, MPH, MS, RN, an internationally recognized expert in public health emergency preparedness, says health care professionals need to remember the greater risk that is still on the horizon.
"Each day health care professionals participate in disease surveillance, detection, and containment activities in order to protect their patients and their communities from the transmission of infectious diseases. Given the heightened threat of the novel coronavirus now in the U.S., all health care professionals should be aware of the risk of a larger outbreak. While consistently maintaining standard infection control procedures in their workplace, we must be prepared to respond to a large-scale public health emergency."
And according to epidemiologic researcher Paul Stamper, MSPH, it is good news that governments across the world are responding as quickly as they can to what information we do have regarding the virus.
"It seems that many health professionals are very involved. It seems like the U.S. government is well aware and on top of the situation."