Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common throughout the world. These viruses can live in animals, such as camels, cats and bats, and at times, evolve and infect people, before spreading through human to human contact. Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold—through the air by coughing or sneezing; through close personal contact, like touching or shaking hands; by touching an object or surface with the viruses on it; and occasionally, through fecal contamination. This has occurred previously with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreaks.
People most at-risk of contracting a coronavirus are those who have traveled to places where the virus is occurring. In the case of the novel coronavirus, that location is China, and particularly the Wuhan area and the Hubei province.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) frequently exercises and prepares for a potential infectious disease outbreak. They have been monitoring the coronavirus outbreak in China using information from federal and local partners and are preparing response teams in case of an outbreak here. DOH has talked with health care partners about the potential spread of the coronavirus into the United States and how they will work with public health to evaluate potential cases.
DOH has issued several fact sheets related to the Coronavirus.
Please share these fact sheets with early childhood education professionals and community partners.