2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus (more specifically, a Coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Corona virus, Wuhan, China.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS, SARS, and now with 2019-nCoV. CDC is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (named “2019-nCoV”) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which continues to expand. Chinese health officials have reported tens of thousands of infections with 2019-nCoV in China, with the virus reportedly spreading from person-to-person in parts of that country. Infections with 2019-nCoV, most of them associated with travel from Wuhan, also are being reported in a growing number of international locations, including the United States. Person-to-person spread of this virus outside China has been detected.
The United States reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with this virus on January 30, 2020. On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern external icon” (PHEIC). On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to 2019-nCoV. Also on January 31, the President of the United States signed a presidential “Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-immigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus external icon“. These measures were announced at a press briefing by members of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force external icon.
Chinese health authorities were the first to post the full genome of the 2019-nCoV in Gen Bank external icon, the NIH genetic sequence database, and in the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID external icon) portal, an action which has facilitated detection of this virus. CDC is posting the full genome of the 2019-nCoV viruses detected in U.S. patients to GenBank as sequencing is completed. 2019-nCoV is a beta-coronavirus, like MERS and SARs, both of which have their origins in bats.
The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by 2019-nCoV in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Chinese officials report that sustained person-to-person spread in the community is occurring in China. Person-to-person spread has been reported outside China, including in the United States and other countries. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.