Editor's note:For the latest news on novel coronavirus, visit https://www.aappublications.org/news/2020/01/28/coronavirus.
Federal officials are shipping coronavirus test kits to state laboratories and flying evacuees from Wuhan, China, to three states as they continue to ramp up their response to the new virus.
On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use authorization for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) diagnostic test. Two hundred test kits will be sent to U.S. laboratories, and 200 will be sent to international laboratories. Each kit can test 700-800 patient samples.
“By the start of next week, we expect there to be much enhanced capacity for laboratory testing closer to our patients,” Nancy Messonnier, M.D., director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, said at a news conference Wednesday.
In the U.S., 11 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington. Dr. Messonnier said those patients are doing well. Another 76 people are awaiting test results.
The CDC and U.S. State Department continue to advise people not to travel to China. Four flights this week are bringing travelers back to the U.S. from Wuhan, the center of the outbreak. Those passengers are being brought to Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif.; Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego; Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio; and Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Neb. They will be screened, given medical care if needed and quarantined for up to 14 days, according to Dr. Messonnier.
Those evacuees are in addition to 195 who arrived at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, Calif., last week. A child from that group recently developed a fever and was taken to a hospital, according to the LA Times. Test results are pending, but Dr. Messonnier noted fevers aren’t uncommon in children and said the child is doing well.
Both the U.S. and the World Health Organization (WHO) have declared the novel coronavirus to be a public health emergency. There have been more than 24,000 cases in China and nearly 500 deaths. Outside China, there have been 191 cases in 24 countries, according to the WHO.
The WHO announced Wednesday it has released $9 million from contingency funds to aid in efforts to combat the virus and is distributing roughly 500,000 masks, 350,000 pairs of gloves, 40,000 respirators, 18,000 isolation gowns and 250,000 diagnostic tests to affected countries. It also is requesting $675 million to aid the response over the next three months.
“Our message to the international community is invest today or pay more later. … $675 million U.S. dollars is a lot of money, but it’s much less than the bill we will face if we do not invest in preparedness now during the window of opportunity that we have,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ph.D., M.Sc. “Once again, we cannot defeat this outbreak without solidarity — political solidarity, technical solidarity and financial solidarity.”
The CDC is asking health care providers to be vigilant for patients with a fever or respiratory symptoms who have traveled to China or been in contact with someone who has coronavirus. Full CDC guidance is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html. The CDC also has released detailed guidance on preventing the spread of coronavirus in health care settings at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/infection-control.html.
In addition to the warnings about travel, officials recommend the public avoid respiratory illnesses by washing their hands, covering their mouths when coughing and staying home when they are sick. Buying masks is not necessary.