Dear USF students, faculty and staff,
If you have been paying attention to world news lately you may have heard about coronavirus emerging in China, with some confirmed cases outside of China (including one in Washington state) linked to travelers. While the Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers this a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019 coronavirus to the general American public is considered low at this time.
To ensure you are informed, USF Student Health Services and our colleagues in USF Health are providing information to help educate you about the virus.
- To date, China has reported nearly 3,000 confirmed cases of this 2019 coronavirus infection. So far, 81 patients have died, with older age and underlying disease as co-factors.
- Cases are confirmed outside of China, with all linking to travelers from Wuhan. The first case in the United States, reported in Washington state, was recognized on January 20, 2020.
- The U.S. has started screening travelers arriving from China at several major airports.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Patients with confirmed 2019 coronavirus infection generally experience a mild respiratory illness with symptoms of:
- shortness of breath
Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. If untreated, the virus can cause pneumonia and, in severe cases, even death.
HOW DOES IT SPREAD?
Person-to-person spread is believed to occur via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.
TIPS FOR PREVENTION
Prevent the spread of respiratory viruses by following hand and respiratory hygiene and safe food practices:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- 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.
IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS
Keep in mind that this is the cold and flu season, so don't jump to conclusions that you have the coronavirus because you have the symptoms. If you are sick, make an appointment to see your doctor. Students should contact the following to make an appointment to see our health professionals:
- Tampa: Student Health Services (SHS100) at 813-974-2331
- St. Petersburg: Wellness Center (SLC 2200) at 727-873-4422
- Sarasota-Manatee: Counseling and Wellness Center (5805 Bay Shore Rd.) at 941-487-4254
If you are severely ill and cannot get to SHS or your doctor, call 911 or go to an emergency room at the local hospital.
For more information about the coronavirus, visit:
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your medical provider.
Joseph A. Puccio, MD, FAAP
Executive Director, Student Health Services
University of South Florida