Flu activity is high in the U.S. and expected to continue for weeks. Additionally, many families in our Duchenne community have expressed concerns about the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). While the chance of exposure to coronavirus is extremely unlikely, we would like to take this opportunity to communicate health information and address possible concerns to the community.
What do we know?
On December 31, 2019, initial reports shared the development of novel coronavirus, a respiratory virus, for the first time in humans in Wuhan, China. The first person in the US with a confirmed case of coronavirus occurred on January 21, 2020. Since that time, the virus has spread to several countries. Currently, while concern of spread is high, the number of confirmed cases in the US remains low. Measures are being taken to isolate known and suspected cases of coronavirus to prevent the spread of infection. To learn more about coronavirus, current research, and public health considerations, click here.
How likely is it that I will be exposed to coronavirus?
The chance of exposure to coronavirus is extremely unlikely, and unless there’s direct contact to someone who has the infection, it’s highly unlikely to contract it. It’s far more likely to be exposed to influenza, which is far more common and can be incredibly dangerous. Please be sure that you and your family have had the influzena vaccine (flu shot). To learn more about the flu, how to prevent it, and how to manage it, click here.
How do I prevent infection with coronavirus or the flu?
General infection prevention measures are key: hand washing, covering mouth when coughing/sneezing, not touching your face, avoiding places where it’s likely to come into contact with infected persons, etc.
What if I think my child has been exposed to coronavirus?
If there is genuine concern for exposure to coronavirus (i.e. you recently visited China, or had direct contact with someone who recently visited China or has a confirmed case of coronavirus), contact your neuromuscular team for guidance on next steps. Generally, there is no need to make changes to your current plan of care or steroid regimen, but speak with your neuromuscular provider if you have concerns.
Because coronavirus is still new and there is so much we don’t know, there are not currently any specific recommendations for Duchenne with coronavirus. With this in mind, if exposure to coronavirus were to occur, it would require collaboration between the neuromuscular team and an infectious disease doctor.