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Issued by US Department of State

Feb 23, 2020

Alert; Level 2, Sustained Community Transmission—Special Precautions for High-Risk Travelers

Key Points

What is the current situation?

A new coronavirus that recently emerged in China has been detected in a number of other locations around the world. Many cases of COVID-19 have been associated with travel to or from mainland China or close contact with a travel-related case, but sustained community spread has been reported in Italy. Sustained community spread means that people have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known, and the spread is ongoing.

Illness with this virus has ranged from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms of infection include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Sore throat and diarrhea have also been reported in some patients. This new coronavirus has caused severe disease and death in patients who developed pneumonia. Risk factors for severe illness are not yet clear, although older adults and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness.

What can travelers do to protect themselves and others?

Because older adults and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe disease, people in these groups should discuss travel with a healthcare provider and consider postponing nonessential travel.

If you travel to Italy, take the following steps:

If you spent time in Italy during the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing:

Clinician Information

Healthcare providers should obtain a detailed travel history for patients with fever or acute respiratory symptoms. For patients with these symptoms who were in Iran and had onset of illness within 2 weeks of leaving, consider novel coronavirus infection and notify infection control personnel and your local health department immediately.

For additional healthcare infection control recommendations, visit CDC’s Infection Control webpage.

For additional information, please see:

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