Current Situation:  Geary County Health Department is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, Provence, China.

Transmission:  Human coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing.
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes, before washing your hands.

 How to protect yourself and others:  There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection.  To reduce your risk of infection and transmitting the virus to others:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick; and stay home while you are sick.

Symptoms:  Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness, like the common cold.  Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives.  These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time.  Symptoms may include:

Runny nose                                    Cough                         Fever

Headache                                      Sore Throat                 General Feeling of being unwell

Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia.  This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults.

Testing:  If you have symptoms and have had recent travel to China or been in direct contact with a person known to be infected with the virus, seek medical care.  Your health provider will order appropriate tests, if needed, and determine if additional precaution should be taken.

 Treatment:  There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses.  Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. Medications for pain and fever can help relieve symptoms.  If you are mildly ill, drink plenty of fluids, stay home and rest.  If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should see your health care provider.