- Therapeutic Areas
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Coronavirus disease emerging in 2019 (“COVID-19”) is a respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The virus that causes COVID-19 is called SARS-CoV-2 and is reportedly highly contagious. COVID-19 is associated with a significant rate of mortality.
The COVID-19 situation is a rapidly evolving situation with our understanding changing as new information becomes available.
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.
Some international destinations have apparent community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19, including in some parts of the United States. Community spread means some people have been infected and it is not known how or where they became exposed.
The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully understood. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. Older people and people with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.
Currently, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. Individuals with COVID-19 receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms, and for severe cases, treatment includes care to support vital organ functions. Currently, the best way to prevent illness due to COVID-19 is to avoid exposure.