As world health officials respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Montana University System is committed to keeping our students, faculty and staff safe and well-informed. As the situation evolves, we want to provide you with the most reliable and up-to-date sources of information for novel coronavirus health and travel updates:

There are no known cases of 2019-nCoV infection in Montana and the CDC states that the current risk to the American public of becoming infected is low.

What are coronaviruses and why are they in the news?

Coronaviruses are a large family of 50+ distinct viruses which are found worldwide and infect both mammals and birds.  Four coronaviruses have been circulating amongst humans for years and are believed to cause 20-40% of common cold infections per year.  Two other coronaviruses have caused much more serious human illness since 2002: SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

In December 2019, a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.  Infectious symptoms range from a short respiratory illness with self-limited cough and low-grade fevers, to severe inflammation of the lungs with fluid infiltration, sepsis, and ultimately respiratory and cardiac arrest.  Severe cases have primarily been noted in patients over 65 years of age who also have significant underlying chronic illnesses (diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease, liver disease, etc.).  Since December, the number of cases has increased dramatically with spread throughout China and to many countries including the United States.

There is no vaccine nor any known antiviral treatment for 2019-nCoV, so treatment is primarily supportive care.  Mild cases may be treated at home, but severe illness requires hospitalization.

How can I find out more about the current coronavirus outbreak?

For updates on what is known about the virus, illness, and public health issues, please follow these links to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  The CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to China and the US State Department has issued a recommendation to avoid nonessential travel to China and to not travel to Wubei Province.  Travel advice is being updated nearly daily, so check these sites frequently if you are planning travel. 

Unless you have recently to the affected areas or have been in close contact with someone who has, there is no reason to be concerned that you have been exposed to the coronavirus.

What is MSUB doing about this coronavirus outbreak?

  • Encouraging students to follow usual precautions for respiratory infections:
    • Cover your mouth when coughing, ideally into your elbow and not into your hands
    • Frequent hand hygiene with soap and water or sanitizing gels
    • Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth, with unwashed hands
    • Stay home when you are sick, but come to our clinic if you feel it is becoming serious
    • Avoid close contact with people who are ill
    • We are still in the midst of influenza season, so please get your flu shot