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Novel Coronavirus (nCoV-2019) outbreak in Wuhan, China

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Please note: this situation is evolving rapidly and information is subject to change. New details will be posted when available.
Date of Release: January 14, 2020
An outbreak of atypical pneumonia in Wuhan, China has been closely monitored by the World Health Organization since late December 2019. The causative agent has been identified as a novel Coronavirus (“nCoV-2019”).   To date, there have been 42 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 1 mortality, and 1 travel-related importation case from Wuhan to Thailand. Sustained person-to-person transmission has not been demonstrated to date, but cannot be ruled out. The outbreak source appears to be a live seafood and animal market. While the CDC assesses the current threat as low, we are advised to stay vigilant and notify appropriate authorities of suspect cases.
This memo is to supplement Dr. Danuta Skowronksi’s update and Dr. Mel Krajden’s laboratory testing memo (14 Jan 2020) and to summarize infection prevention recommendations and notifications. We ask that all care providers assist in early case identification and containment by observing the following:
  • Ask patients presenting with acute respiratory illness/pneumonia about their travel history
  • Notify institutional Infection Control Practitioners, Medical Microbiologists and Medical Health Officers if one of your patients present with:
    • Fever and acute respiratory illness, with or without pneumonia AND
    • Travel to Wuhan, China within 14 days prior to symptom onset OR
    • Another potential relevant exposure (e.g., close contact with someone who was ill and had recently travelled to Wuhan.
  • Practice fastidious hand hygiene and place patients with acute respiratory illness/pneumonia on appropriate additional precautions:
    • Place the patient in single-occupancy if possible
    • Place the patient under contact and droplet precautions (including eye protection) for all care activities and additionally, N95 masks with eye protection should be donned during aerosol-generating procedures, including specimen collection
  • Laboratory testing can be facilitated by your institutional Medical Microbiologist in conjunction with the BCCDC Medical Microbiologist
Please go to: for all related past and future documents, including lab guidance.
This situation is being closely monitored by the BC Center for Disease Control, Public Health Agency of Canada, World Health Organization and other international partners who are collaborating on a unified approach. A travel advisory was put out by the Government of Canada on January 7, 2020. For plain language information that includes travel advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada