Duke’s Emergency Management team and infectious disease specialists continue to closely monitor an outbreak of a novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China last month and has begun to spread to other countries, including one case in the United States.

Symptoms of the virus include fever and lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing).   The illness can be more serious for individuals with a weakened immune system, the elderly, or those with underlying respiratory problems.  More serious symptoms include bronchitis or pneumonia.

Chinese authorities have now enacted a travel ban for Wuhan, the epicenter for the outbreak, and two nearby cities to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Air travel and public transportation in and out of these cities has been stopped, and residents are not allowed to leave without special permission.

We are not aware of any novel coronavirus cases at Duke or in North Carolina.

Duke is not currently restricting travel to or from China or other international areas based on the illness.  However, the university strongly discourages any travel by faculty, staff and students to the Chinese cities of Huanggang, Ezhou and Wuhan until the situation stabilizes.  In addition, Duke Kunshan University has implemented similar policies for students, faculty and staff.

Anyone who has returned from China within the past 14 days and is sick with fever and cough, or difficulty breathing, should seek medical care right away and call ahead to the doctor’s office to inform them of recent travel and symptoms. Likewise, visitors to campus from China who report these symptoms should seek medical care and alert their Duke hosts immediately.

Duke students with these symptoms should contact Student Health at 919-681-9355, option 2 and ask to speak to a triage nurse

Duke faculty and staff with these symptoms should contact Employee Occupational Health & Wellness at 919-684-3136, option 2 and ask for a nurse; after business hours call the Blood and Body Fluid exposure emergency hotline at 919-684-8115

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest the following precautions for anyone traveling to an area where the illness is prevalent:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

While all students on Duke-sponsored travel are required to enter travel plans in the Duke Travel Registry, we also strongly recommend that all faculty and staff do likewise for both professional and personal travel. The Travel Registry helps Duke locate and provide support for travelers in the event of an emergency.

This is a rapidly developing situation, so we encourage you check in with trusted news sources throughout the day.

For the latest information about the outbreak from the CDC, see  In addition, an updated CDC Travel Notice about this outbreak is here.