January 22, 2020: Wesleyan Public Health Advisory – Corona Virus

From: Tom McLarney, MD
Sent: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 4:10 PM
Subject: Wesleyan Public Health Advisory – Corona Virus

To the Wesleyan Community:

Welcome back from winter break. I hope it was restful and rejuvenating.

As many of you know from news reports, there is a viral illness that has affected the Hubei Province (mainly in Wuhan) China.

This virus is a novel (new) strain of the Corona virus, which causes a respiratory illness.  In many cases, this illness is self-limited and lasts less than a week. However, there have been severe cases noted with a number of deaths attributed to this.

Symptoms are non-specific and are the same symptoms one would see with the influenza virus as well as common cold viruses.  These include cough, runny nose, headache, sore throat, fever and malaise (the feeling of being unwell).  The major difference is the risk of exposure.  One would have needed to be in the Wuhan area or to be exposed to a person who had contracted the virus.  Of note, a person could contract this from another person or from an infected animal (either alive or dead).  A fish and poultry market in Wuhan was identified as the source of this outbreak and was subsequently closed.  However new cases are being identified in persons who had not been at that market.

Travelers from Wuhan are being screened by the airlines for fever and symptoms prior to disembarking.

To date, there is one reported case in the US in a traveler from China who developed symptoms after he arrived on the West Coast.

At this time, there is no threat to the Wesleyan community but the University will be monitoring this and will keep the community apprised of any developments.

If you have a cough and fever, and have recently been to China or have been exposed to a person with known Corona virus, please seek medical attention. During this cold and flu season, we recommend following common sense measures to prevent the spread of illness, including not sharing drinks; coughing into the crook of one’s arm rather than the hand; no mouth to mouth kissing; and frequently using hand sanitizer or washing hands in soap and water for 20 seconds.


Tom McLarney MD

Medical Director

Davison Health Center