The CDC’s plan for testing patients with flu for coronavirus will inform their response strategy, should the infection spread, the agency said.
In a call with members of the media on Friday, February 14, 2020, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said they will begin to test individuals with influenza-like-illness for the novel coronavirus. This will take place at public health labs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and New York City.
The CDC plans to expand this initiative to more cities in the coming weeks with the goal of eventually conducting national surveillance in order to guide response strategy.
“This is an extra layer of our response that will help us detect if and when this virus is spreading in the community,” said Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC’s Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “All of our efforts are now to prevent the sustained spread of the virus in our community, but we need to be prepared for the possibility that it will spread.”
While this was a call focused on the worldwide coronavirus outbreak, Messonnier added that reports of the flu have increased the past few weeks.
Flu-related highlights from Messonnier’s briefing include:
In other news the novel coronavirus and the flu have similar typical symptoms including fever, cough or runny nose, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). However, lab testing is required to confirm if a patient has coronavirus.
WHO recommends that people with flu-like symptoms seek medical care early, and inform health care providers if they have traveled in the 14 days prior to onset of symptoms.
In other influenza news: