Information to campus about the novel coronavirus

Jan. 27, 2020

This message was sent by Medical Director, Cheryl Hug-English, MD, MPH to students, faculty staff and other personnel at the University of Nevada, Reno.

To the University Community,

As many of you may have heard from the news, a new respiratory virus has emerged called the Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV. This virus was first identified in the city of Wuhan, China. At present, the majority of the cases have occurred in Wuhan; however, the virus has spread to other countries, including the United States. Since this is a virus that has not previously been seen in humans, the situation with regard to 2019-nCoV is still unclear. While severe illness, including a number of deaths, have been reported in China, other patients have had a much milder illness.

What we know
This virus is part of a family of viruses called corona viruses and can lead to respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may occur in as little as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This virus probably originated from an animal source, but now appears to be spreading from person to person. It is likely that the virus is spread by respiratory droplets produced from coughs or sneezes, similar to the cold or flu.

More information about  Novel Coronavirus is available from the CDC.

Steps being taken at the Student Health Center
It is important to remember that this is cold and flu season and that respiratory symptoms are common. The Student Health Center has established protocols for dealing with communicable diseases. Currently, we have a heightened emphasis on obtaining a detailed travel history for all patients presenting with fever and respiratory symptoms. We are continuing to follow CDC guidelines and recommendations. We have not seen any cases of Novel Coronavirus on our campus or in the state of Nevada. We have posted information about 2019-nCoV on the Student Health Center website.

For our campus
Students and/or faculty or staff who have had recent travel to China should be encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath. Anyone with travel history to China within the last 14 days with respiratory symptoms, or anyone who has had contact with someone suspected to have 2019-nCoV, should be evaluated by a health care provider at the Student Health Center, or in the community. As a courtesy, it is important to call the medical facility and let them know about your recent travel history before arriving to the clinic.

Preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Although news about a new infectious disease can be unsettling, please know that the CDC and other health authorities are monitoring this situation closely and that our medical staff is staying up to date with guidelines and recommendations to help promote the health of our campus.

Cheryl Hug-English MD, MPH
Medical Director
Student Health Center
(775) 784-6598