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Open Access Publications from the University of California

2019-nCoV: The Identify-Isolate-Inform (3I) Tool Applied to a Novel Emerging Coronavirus


2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is an emerging infectious disease closely related to MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV that was first reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. As of January 2020, cases of 2019-nCoV are continuing to be reported in other Eastern Asian countries as well as in the United States, Europe, Australia, and numerous other countries. An unusually high volume of domestic and international travel corresponding to the beginning of the 2020 Chinese New Year complicated initial identification and containment of infected persons. Due to the rapidly rising number of cases and reported deaths, all countries should be considered at risk of imported 2019-nCoV. Therefore, it is essential for prehospital, clinic, and emergency department personnel to be able to rapidly assess 2019-nCoV risk and take immediate actions if indicated. The Identify-Isolate-Inform (3I) tool, originally conceived for the initial detection and management of Ebola virus and later adjusted for other infectious agents, can be adapted for any emerging infectious disease. This paper reports a modification of the 3I tool for use in the initial detection and management of patients under investigation for 2019-nCoV. After initial assessment for symptoms and epidemiological risk factors, including travel to affected areas and exposure to confirmed 2019-nCoV patients within 14 days, patients are classified in a risk-stratified system. Upon confirmation of a suspected 2019-nCoV case, affected persons must immediately be placed in airborne infection isolation and the appropriate public health agencies notified. This modified 3I tool will assist emergency and primary care clinicians, as well as out-of-hospital providers, in effectively managing persons with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV.

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