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What is the coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory illnesses. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan City, China and has not previously been seen in humans. COVID-19 causes symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of coronavirus include mild to severe respiratory symptoms. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and lower respiratory illness. It may be contagious before a person begins showing symptoms.

Who is most at risk?

For the general American public, the immediate health risk from the virus is considered low. Those who are most at risk are older adults, babies, and those with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems.

Protect yourself and your community.

We all have a role to play in protecting our communities and families from the spread of coronavirus. It is similar to other communicable viruses. You can also follow these tips to prevent infection:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizing rub (must contain at least 60 percent alcohol) can help as well, but washing your hands is preferable.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze by coughing/sneezing into your elbow.
  • Promptly dispose of tissues in a wastebasket after use.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and touch-points like doorknobs, handles, light switches, your phone and your TV remote thoroughly.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

What else causes similar symptoms?

Influenza (the flu), a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza viruses (Type A and Type B), has high activity in the United States at this time. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine.

I may have symptoms. What do I do?

If you have been exposed or begin showing symptoms of the virus or flu, contact your healthcare provider or health department immediately.

For more information, including travel advisories, please visit cdc.gov.

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