coronavirus pixabay
12 Feb
Clinical care

Coronavirus and cystic fibrosis

10 February 2020

With the recent outbreak of a new coronavirus, called novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, we’ve had some questions from our community about the risk to people with CF in New Zealand.

CFNZ has been closely monitoring the advice from the Ministry of Health (MoH) through daily updates on the Ministry of Health website. To date there has been no confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in New Zealand and although the likelihood of an imported case in New Zealand is high, the risk of an ongoing outbreak in New Zealand is low.

It’s thought 2019-nCoV is spread through coughing, sneezing and close contact with a person who has the virus. The MoH recommends following the usual hygiene practices to reduce passing on acute respiratory infections, including:

  • regularly washing hands (for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap and dry thoroughly)
  • covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze
  • staying home if you are sick
  • avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • if you feel unwell you should avoid public gatherings and events.

The symptoms of 2019-nCoV are similar to other illnesses and include a fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

Dr Mark O’Carroll, Adult Respiratory Specialist at Auckland City Hospital wants to reassure our CF community that isolation protocols are already in place if 2019-nCoV was identified in New Zealand.

“The main message to people with CF is to re-iterate there are infection control practices in place that protect patients and staff from acquiring any form of emerging viral illness, and coronavirus is just another one of them,” Mark says.

“There is obvious concern amongst the public which includes people with CF, however they should be reassured that they should seek help in the event of a deterioration in their health in the same manner as usual.”

Take home message

CFNZ will continue to stay up-to-date with the MoH recommendations and in regular contact with CFNZ’s Clinical Advisory Panel. We will publish any important updates for our CF community on our website and Facebook page.

Please continue to follow the advice and infection control protocols of your healthcare team and if you have any concerns please contact your CF medical team in the first instance. Any questions can be emailed to

You can learn more about 2019-nCoV and stay updated daily on the Ministry of Health website.



  1. Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) questions and answers, Ministry of Health.