Milton Board of Health
525 Canton Avenue
Milton, MA 02186
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Susan Poirier RN. B.S.N.
Public Health Nurse
Milton Board of Health
617-898-4884 Fax 617-696-5172
As of 03/03/2020 the emergence of the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak has affected 80,000 people in 70 locations around the world including the U.S. There have been 3200 deaths globally with the majority occurring in China. Here in the U.S. there have been 118 confirmed cases of the virus and 9 deaths. In Massachusetts there is one confirmed case and one presumptive case. The CDC’s Incident Management System is monitoring the spread of this disease very carefully and thoroughly and is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and state and local public health departments to keep this disease from becoming a pandemic. People who arrived from Wuhan, China and mainland China who have been in those areas within the preceding 14 days prior to arrival in the U.S. were screened for the virus at specific airports in the US. Charted planes were sent to China to take American citizens home to the U.S. and these people were screened for the virus and quarantined for 14 days. The disease spread further to people on cruise ships who were quarantined. After leaving the ship, they were quarantined for 14 days. On January 27, 2020 the CDC advised travelers to avoid nonessential travel to China. On January 31,2020 The President signed a “Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus”. Please refer to the CDC for the specifics regarding this proclamation.
The Coronavirus is a betacoronavirus that originates from bats. Initially, the disease was detected in people who live in or traveled to Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. It was determined early on that those people ill from the coronavirus frequented a seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China. This indicated a possible animal -to -person spread. Later, it was determined that some of the people affected had no connection to the seafood and animal market. Since, it has been determine that the virus can spread from person to person. The risk depends on the exposure to the virus. Healthcare workers who are caring for those affected by the virus are at highest risk for exposure. Otherwise, the risk for the general public here in Massachusetts is low.
The Coronavirus is a member of the same family of viruses that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). As a result, it is spread between close contacts via respiratory droplets such as coughing or sneezing. However, there may be evidence that the respiratory droplets may travel farther than expected and, likely, infect those without close contact to an infected individual. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The incubation period is 2 days to 14 days after being exposed.
The CDC has developed an assay protocol to test for the virus. Initially, all testing took place at the CDC but now public health labs throughout the U.S. are able to obtain this test so further testing can take place in other locations. The Massachusetts State Lab started testing on 2/28/2020. They have done three tests since then. The CDC recommends the following:
- Receive the seasonal influenza vaccine.
- Frequent and thorough handwashing for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth and cover all areas when coughing or sneezing.
- Disinfect items used frequently.
- Avoid contact with people who have respiratory symptoms.
- Receive antiviral medications, if diagnosed with seasonal influenza.
Studies will continue so there is a broader understanding of the virus characteristics communicability, severity, and vaccine and medication treatment. Keep in mind that your local health department still has some influenza vaccine available for adults. If interested in receiving the Flu vaccine, please call the Health office at 617-898-4886 to schedule an appointment.
Source for this article:
Susan Poirier RN, BSN