CDC issues warning about pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China caused by novel coronavirus

ATTENTION: This is a news report about the ongoing outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). For comprehensive and updated information about this outbreak, see our 2019-nCoV advisories page. For more recent news items about 2019-nCoV, see our latest updates on the news page. 


Health officials in China, along with the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), are closely monitoring an outbreak of pneumonia caused by a novel (new) coronavirus in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, in Hubei Province. So far there are 40 confirmed infections and two deaths.

Coronaviruses circulate in animals, including camels, cats, and bats, but they can sometimes evolve and infect people. This is what happened with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Most of those affected by this new coronavirus were linked to a large seafood and animal market, likely through animal-to-person spread. However, some patients were not exposed to animal markets, so there are concerns of limited person-to-person spread. In the meantime, the market has been closed for cleaning and disinfection.

On January 17, CDC announced that they would screen travelers from Wuhan at three airports in the United States: New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and Los Angeles International (LAX).

Location of Wuhan in central China

Travelers to Wuhan are advised to do the following:

  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Wash hand often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

If you have traveled to Wuhan and feel sick, you should do the following:

  • Stay home. Except for seeking medical care, avoid contact with others.
  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

For more information, including information for clinicians and public health professionals, please go to the following CDC and WHO webpages: