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Interim guidelines for collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens from patients under investigation (PUIs) for 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
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  • Description:
    Health care providers should contact their local/state health department immediately to notify them of patients with fever and lower respiratory illness who traveled to Wuhan, China within 14 days of symptom onset. Local and state public health staff will determine if the patient meets the criteria for a patient under investigation (PUI) for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Clinical specimens should be collected from PUIs for routine testing of respiratory pathogens at either clinical or public health labs. Note that clinical laboratories should NOT attempt viral isolation from specimens collected from 2019-nCoV PUIs.

    At this time, diagnostic testing for 2019-nCoV can be conducted only at CDC.

    State and local health departments who have identified a PUI should immediately notify CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 770-488-7100 to report the PUI and determine whether testing for 2019-NCoV at CDC is indicated. The EOC will assist local/state health departments to collect, store, and ship specimens appropriately to CDC, including during afterhours or on weekends/holidays.

    Testing for other respiratory pathogens by the provider should be done as part of the initial evaluation and should not delay specimen shipping to CDC.

    If a PUI tests positive for another respiratory pathogen, after clinical evaluation and consultation with public health authorities, they may no longer be considered a PUI.

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