Updated at 10:27 a.m. CT, Wednesday, Feb. 12
(New resource added to Caregiver Information page: Emerging Infectious Disease Surveillance Tool)
The purpose of this page is to provide information to all members of our community -- clinicians and non-clinicians.
Please keep in mind there are many different infectious illnesses, and the U.S. Healthcare community - including Global Medical Response (GMR) - has the training, equipment and processes necessary to safely care for these patients. All caregivers are trained in the necessary precautions to protect against contamination from diseases like the novel coronavirus.
On the right hand side of this page, you will find links with more information on education and precautions.
Source: NHTSA ems.gov DOT
Chinese health officials have identified coronavirus (COVID-19) as the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, which has led to a number of confirmed and suspected cases and several deaths in China. There have been cases identified in several Asian countries and two confirmed cases with other potential cases under investigation in the United States. A multi-agency Federal response is ongoing at this time to monitor the outbreak and implement preparedness and response activities. Among those agencies, the CDC is following and addressing the clinical aspects of this issue.
• Get the most up-to-date information on the CDC website
At this time, the potential risk of infection of the US population, including health care practitioners such as EMS clinicians is low. The CDC is conducting health screenings at a number of airports around the U.S. (JFK, SFO, LAX, ORD, ATL) by actively assessing passengers at those ports of entry determined to be at possible risk. EMS agencies that service those airports have already been contacted by the CDC Quarantine Stations at those airports. A number of EMS agencies around the country have initiated protocols and policies to address concerns regarding appropriate procedures for EMS clinicians to follow. The Office of EMS is working closely with Federal agencies for awareness of needs of the EMS and 911 community.
Coronaviruses are common throughout the world and typically cause mild to moderate illness. COVID-19 is a member of this family, which includes SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV which can lead to severe illness. Limited human-to-human transmission has been observed with an incubation period of about six to 14 days. Known and suspected systems include fever, difficulty breathing, cough and potentially other mild to severe respiratory symptoms including severe pneumonia. Available treatment is currently limited to supportive care.
While the risk to the U.S. population is low, this is a serious and evolving situation. At this time, specific screening protocols for 911 or emergency medical dispatch are not required. If a caller volunteers information about travel to China within the past 2 weeks or close contact* potential exposure to a patient / person under investigation (PUI), that information should be relayed to responding field crews.
Routine exposure control precautions will offer protection to first responders. EMS clinicians are advised to maintain a high index of suspicion in patients who present with fever and respiratory symptoms with a travel history to Wuhan, China.