Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Coronavirus: What providers, patients should know

Many forms of coronavirus exist among both humans and animals, but this new strain’s has caused alarm. (CDC graphic) Many forms of coronavirus exist among both humans and animals, but this new strain has caused alarm. (CDC graphic)

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

With news of the contagious and potentially deadly illness known as novel coronavirus grabbing headlines worldwide, military health officials say that an informed, common sense approach minimizes the chances of getting sick.

Many forms of coronavirus exist among both humans and animals, but this new strain’s lethality has triggered considerable alarm. Believed to have originated at an animal market in Wuhan City, China, novel coronavirus has sickened hundreds and killed at least 4. It has since spread to other parts of Asia. The first case of novel coronavirus in the U.S. was reported January 22 in Washington State.

Anyone contracting a respiratory illness shouldn’t assume it’s novel coronavirus; it is far more likely to be a more common malady. “For example, right now in the U.S., influenza, with 35 million cases last season, is far more commonplace than novel coronavirus, said U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Dr. (Lt. Cmdr.) David Shih, a preventive medicine physician and epidemiologist with the Clinical Support Division, Defense Health Agency. He added that those experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness – like coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, and fever – should avoid contact with others and making them sick, Shih said.

“Don’t think you’re being super dedicated by showing up to work when ill,” Shih said. “Likewise, if you’re a duty supervisor, please don’t compel your workers to show up when they’re sick. In the short run, you might get a bit of a productivity boost. In the long run, that person could transmit a respiratory illness to co-workers, and pretty soon you lose way more productivity because your entire office is sick.”

Shih understands that service members stationed in areas of strategic importance and elevated states of readiness are not necessarily in the position to call in sick. In such instances, sick personnel still can take steps to practice effective cough hygiene and use whatever hygienic services they can find to avert hindering readiness by making their battle buddies sick.  Frequent thorough handwashing, for instance, is a cornerstone of respiratory disease prevention.

“You may not have plumbing for washing hands, but hand sanitizer can become your best friend and keep you healthy,” Shih said.

Regarding novel coronavirus, Shih recommends following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel notices.  First, avoid all non-essential travel to Wuhan, China, the outbreak’s epicenter.  Second, patients who traveled to China in the past 14 days with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, should seek medical care right away (calling the doctor’s office or emergency room in advance to report travel and symptoms) and otherwise avoid 1) contact with others and 2) travel while sick.

CDC also has guidance for health care professionals, who should evaluate patients with fever and respiratory illness by taking a careful travel history to identify patients under investigation (PUIs), who include those with 1) fever, 2) lower respiratory illness symptoms, and 3) travel history to Wuhan, China, within 14 days prior to symptom onset. PUIs should wear a surgical mask as soon as they are identified and be evaluated in a private room with the door closed, ideally an airborne infection isolation room if available.  Workers caring for PUIs should wear gloves, gowns, masks, eye protection, and respiratory protection. Perhaps most importantly, care providers who believe they may be treating a novel coronavirus patient should immediately notify infection control and public health authorities (the installation preventive medicine or public health department at military treatment facilities).

Because novel coronavirus is new (as its name suggests), there is as yet no immunization nor specific treatment. Care providers are instead treating the symptoms – acetaminophen to reduce fever, lozenges and other treatments to soothe sore throats, and, for severe cases, ventilators to help patients breathe.

“Lacking specific treatment,” Shih said, “we must be extra vigilant about basic prevention measures: frequent handwashing, effective cough and sneeze hygiene, avoiding sick individuals, and self-isolating when sick.”

You also may be interested in...

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 9 - September 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Review of the U.S. military's human immunodeficiency virus program: a legacy of progress and a future of promise; Update: Routine screening for antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus, civilian applicants for U.S. military service and U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components, January 2012–June 2017; Sexually transmitted infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Brief report: Use of ICD-10 code A51.31 (condyloma latum) for identifying cases of secondary syphilis

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 11 - November 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Pregnancies and live births, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012–2016; Contraception among active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012–2016; Complications and care related to pregnancy, labor, and delivery among active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012–2016; Incidence and burden of gynecologic disorders, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012–2016; Department of Defense Birth and Infant Health Registry: select reproductive health outcomes, 2003–2014

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 5 - May 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Viral hepatitis A, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Viral hepatitis B, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Viral hepatitis C, U.S. military service members and beneficiaries, 2008–2016; Brief report: Tinea pedis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000–2016; and Surveillance snapshot: Respiratory infections resulting in hospitalization, U.S. Air Force recruits, October 2010–February 2017.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 2 - February 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incident diagnoses of leishmaniasis, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001–2016; Incidence rates of malignant melanoma in relation to years of military service, overall and in selected military occupational groups, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001–2015; Medical evacuations, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 2013–2015.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 3 - March 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Diagnoses of traumatic brain injury not clearly associated with deployment, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001–2016; Update: Heat illness, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Update: Exertional rhabdomyolysis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012–2016; Update: Exertional hyponatremia, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001–2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 8 - August 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Multiple sclerosis among service members of the active and reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces and among other beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2007–2016; Challenges with diagnosing and investigating suspected active tuberculosis disease in military trainees; Brief report: Mid-season influenza vaccine effectiveness estimates for the 2016–2017 influenza season

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 4 - April 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Hospitalizations, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Ambulatory visits, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Surveillance snapshot: Illness and injury burdens, reserve component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Surveillance snapshot: Illness and injury burdens, recruit trainees, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016; Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, non-service member beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 12 - December 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Insomnia and motor vehicle accident–related injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Seizures among active component service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Brief report: Prevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infections in U.S. Air Force basic military trainees who donated blood, 2013–2016; Fatigue and related comorbidities, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 6 - June 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incidence of Campylobacter intestinal infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Incidence of nontyphoidal Salmonella intestinal infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Incidence of Shigella intestinal infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Using records of diagnoses from healthcare encounters and laboratory test results to estimate the incidence of norovirus infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016: limitations to this approach; Incidence of Escherichia coli intestinal infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016; Surveillance snapshot: Annual incidence rates and monthly distribution of cases of gastrointestinal infection, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 7 - July 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Skin and soft tissue infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2013–2016; Age-period-cohort analysis of colorectal cancer, service members aged 20–59 years, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1997–2016; Incidence of gastrointestinal infections among U.S. active component service members stationed in the U.S. compared to U.S civilians, 2012–2014; Brief report: Laboratory characterization of noroviruses identified in specimens from Military Health System beneficiaries during an outbreak in Germany, 2016–2017; Surveillance snapshot: Norovirus outbreaks among military forces, 2008–2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 24 No. 10 - October 2017

Report
1/1/2017

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella among service members and other beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2010-2016; Update: Cold weather injuries, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, July 2012-June 2017; Surveillance snapshot: Influenza vaccine effectiveness, U.S. European Command, as estimated by the Department of Defense Global, Laboratory-Based Influenza Surveillance Program, 2016-2017 influenza season; Surveillance snapshot: Influenza immunization among U.S. Armed Forces healthcare workers, August 2012-April 2017

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Study Finds Strong Immune Response to HPV Vaccine Among Female Service Members

Report
5/11/2016

A new study of female service members that examined their immune response to a vaccine to combat the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer showed development of antibodies in 80 to 99 percent of recipients against each of the four strains of the disease.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Public Health | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 5 - May 2016

Report
1/1/2016

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Post-refractive surgery complications and eye disease, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005–2014; Update: Urinary stones, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2011–2015; Surveillance snapshot: Zika virus infection among Military Health System beneficiaries following introduction of the virus into the Western Hemisphere, 20 May 2016; Surveillance snapshot: Department of Defense Global, Laboratory-Based Influenza Surveillance Program, 2014–2015 season.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 6 - June 2016

Report
1/1/2016

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Identification of specific activities associated with fall-related injuries, active component, U.S. Army, 2011; Incidence and recent trends in functional gastrointestinal disorders, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005–2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 7 - July 2016

Report
1/1/2016

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Increasing severity of traumatic brain injury is associated with an increased risk of subsequent headache or migraine: a retrospective cohort study of U.S. active duty service members, 2006–2015; Use of complementary health approaches at military treatment facilities, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010–2015; Incident diagnoses of cancers in the active component and cancer-related deaths in the active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005–2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Public Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 46 - 60 Page 4 of 19

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.