Communicable Diseases

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Houston Community College is monitoring the coronavirus (2019-nCov) situation carefully and is taking proactive and prudent measures to ensure the health and safety of students and staff in accordance with the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At this time, the college is not aware of any students, faculty, or staff who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

It is important for the HCC community to know that while the CDC considers this to be a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk to the general American public is considered low at this time.  According to the CDC, this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States. Nonetheless, spring break season is near and many HCC students, faculty, and staff are expected travel during that time. It is best to practice healthy habits including frequent hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding contact with sick people. These measures will help protect against colds and the flu.

Updates will be provided on the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as they become available.

Please see the following for more information:

Travel Advisory:

View here for U.S. Department of State >

What are symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

  • For the vast majority of people who have had the illness, symptoms were mild (like a cold or flu) and they resolved after several days. Flu like symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and sore throat.

What happens to the students attending Houston Community College if there is a confirmed case on campus?

  • If a 2019 N-CoV virus is confirmed, then Centers for Disease Control protocols will be followed. Those who have had close contact with the patient will be contacted and monitored by the Harris County Health Department.

What if I recently traveled and have concerns that I’ve been exposed to 2019-nCoV?

  • Contact your medical provider.

Where can I find updated information?

What preventive actions can students take during flu season?

  • Everyone 6 months and older is encouraged to get a flu shot.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

It is highly recommended that students continue to practice preventive actions as flu season continues. If you are feeling ill, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019 nCoV)?

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in hundreds of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally. The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.


Is 2019 nCoV the same as the SARS virus or MERS?

No. 2019 nCoV is not the same coronavirus that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012, but is similar in that it is causing respiratory illness.



What are the symptoms of 2019 nCoV?

People who are infected with 2019 nCoV have developed mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, and potentially respiratory distress. There are many types of illnesses that can cause these types of respiratory symptoms. Individuals who have these symptoms and have had traveled to Wuhan, China or have had close contact with someone with 2019 nCoV should be medically evaluated.


Does 2019 nCoV spread from person to person?

2019 nCoV has been shown to spread between people. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person. Human coronaviruses typically spread through the air by coughing and sneezing.


How is 2019 nCoV diagnosed?

Diagnosis occurs through laboratory testing of respiratory specimens and serum (blood). Some coronavirus strains cause the common cold and patients tested by their health care provider may test positive for these types. The 2019 nCoV strain can only be detected at a public health laboratory.


Is there a vaccine?

Currently, there is not a vaccine for 2019 nCoV.


How can I help protect myself?

CDC advises that people follow these tips to help prevent respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.


Zika virus

What is Zika virus disease (ZIKA)?

  • Disease spread primarily through the bite of an Aedes species mosquito infected with Zika virus.
  • Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms.


Where has Zika virus been found?

  • Before 2015, Zika outbreaks occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
  • Currently outbreaks are occurring in many countries and territories.


How is Zika transmitted?

  • Zika can be transmitted through:
    • Mosquito bites
    • From a pregnant woman to her fetus
    • Sexual contact
    • Blood transfusion


What are the symptoms?

  • The most common symptoms of Zika are:
    • Fever
    • Rash
    • Joint pain
    • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)


How does Zika virus affect people?

  • Anyone who lives in or travels to an area with Zika and has not already been infected with Zika virus can get it.
  • Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms.


How does Zika affect pregnant women?

  • Zika virus can pass from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth.
  • Zika infection in pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.
    • Microcephaly: birth defect in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age.
    • Previous infection will not affect future pregnancies.
  • Other problems have been detected in pregnancies among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth.
  • Scientists are studying the full range of other potential health problems that Zika virus infection during pregnancy may cause.
  • No reports of infants getting Zika through breastfeeding.


How is Zika diagnosed?

  • Diagnosis of Zika is based on a person’s recent travel history, symptoms, and results of blood tests.
  • A blood test is the only way to confirm a Zika infection.
  • Symptoms of Zika are similar to other illnesses spread through mosquito bites, like dengue and chikungunya.
  • Your doctor or other healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for several types of infections.


How is Zika treated?

  • There is no specific medicine or vaccine for Zika virus.
  • Treat symptoms
    • Rest
    • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
    • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to reduce fever and pain
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. During the first week of illness, Zika virus can be found in blood for about a week. If a mosquito bites the person, it becomes infected and can pass the infection to others.


Preventing Mosquito Bites

Zika is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites. Protect yourself.

STEP 1   Keep mosquitoes outside

Keep mosquitoes out of your home or hotel.
Stay in places with air conditioning and with window/door screens.
Do not leave doors propped open.

Keep mosquitoes out of your home or hotel.
Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water. Mosquitos lay eggs near water.
Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitos cannot get inside to lay eggs
If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps.

Keep mosquitoes out of your home or hotel.
When traveling, use a bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.



STEP 2   Create a barrier between you and mosquitoes

Cover up!
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

Treat clothing and gear

Use permethrin to treat clothing and gear or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear. Read product information to find out how long the protection will last.

If treating items yourself, always follow the product instructions.

Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.


STEP 3 Wear insect repellent

Always follow the product label instructions.


STEP 4 Protect your family

For babies and children
Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.


STEP 5    Protect your partner


STEP 6 Do your homework before traveling

If you are pregnant, do not travel to areas with Zika. If you must travel, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider before your trip.
If you are trying to get pregnant, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider before you travel.

If you choose to travel:
Strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites to protect yourself and your family.
Even if you do not feel sick, travelers returning to the United States from an area with Zika should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks so they do not spread Zika to uninfected mosquitos.

See the latest travel notices at:




What is CDC doing?

Activated Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to level 1

Providing on-the-ground support in affected areas

Educating healthcare providers and the public about Zika

Posting travel notices and other travel-related guidance

Providing laboratories with diagnostic tests

Creating and distributing Zika Prevention Kits for affected US territories

Conducting a study to evaluate the persistence of Zika virus in semen and urine among male residents of the United States

Working with partners to:

Monitor and report cases

Conduct studies to learn more about the potential link between Zika and Guillain-Barré syndrome

Create action plans for state and local health officials to improve Zika preparedness

Publish and disseminate guidelines to inform testing and treatment of people with suspected or confirmed Zika

Publish and disseminate conclusions on the causal association between Zika and microcephaly


For more information

Contact CDC 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636) TTY: 1-888-232-6348

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.