CDC Confirms Person-to-Person Spread of New Coronavirus in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has spread between two people in the United States, representing the first instance of person-to-person spread with this new virus here. Previously, all confirmed U.S. cases had been associated with travel to Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by this novel coronavirus has been ongoing since December 2019. However, this latest 2019-nCoV patient has no history of travel to Wuhan, but shared a household with the patient diagnosed with 2019-nCoV infection on January 21, 2020. Recognizing early on that the 2019-nCoV could potentially spread between people, CDC has been working closely with state and local partners to identify close contacts of confirmed 2019-nCoV cases. Public health officials identified this Illinois resident through contact tracing. Both patients are in stable condition.

CDC is working closely with Illinois health officials and other local partners. A CDC team has been on the ground since the first 2019-nCoV-positive case was identified and is supporting an ongoing investigation to determine whether further spread with this virus has occurred. It is likely there will be more cases of 2019-nCoV reported in the U.S. in the coming days and weeks, including more person-to-person spread. CDC will continue to update the public as we learn more about this coronavirus. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Right now, 2019-nCoV has not been found to be spreading widely in the United States, so CDC deems the immediate risk from this virus to the general public to be low. However, risk is dependent on exposure, and people who are in contact with people with 2019-nCoV are likely to be at greater risk of infection and should take the precautions outlined in CDC’s guidance for preventing spread in homes and communities.

For the general public, no additional precautions are recommended at this time beyond the simple daily precautions that everyone should always take. It is currently flu and respiratory disease season, and CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed. Right now, CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China.

For more information about the current outbreak in China, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. For travel health information, visit https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/pneumonia-china.