Cold and flu season is no stranger to every parent’s household this time of year, but it looks like there’s a new virus to be concerned about. Chances are, you have already seen headlines about the coronavirus. Now that the U.S. has confirmed its first case earlier in the week, what does that mean for you and your family?
An apparent outbreak of an unknown strain of the coronavirus began spreading through Wuhan, China in December 2019. Since December more than 300 people have been infected with this strain of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), and at least six people have died. Since then, government agencies have swiftly taken action. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are screening all passengers on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan, China traveling into multiple US hubs. The World Health Organization (WHO) is meeting on Thursday to reevaluate whether or not this outbreak should be considered a public health emergency of international concern.
As per, NBC News, the first US case of 2019-nCoV was found in Seattle, Washington. The patient, a man in his 30s, arrived in the US around January 15 after visiting Wuhan, China. The patient is reported to be in good condition.
What is Coronavirus?
According to the WHO, coronaviruses (CoV) belong to a large family of viruses that are most common among animals, but sometimes they can be transmitted between animals and humans. Those coronaviruses which can be passed from animals to humans and then from humans to humans can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases.
The CDC has found a link between the current outbreak and a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China. This suggests an animal-to-human spread. However, a growing number of patients who have not had exposure to animal markets are getting ill. This means there may be a possible person-to-person spread of the disease.
Common signs of infection for coronaviruses include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can result in pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
The WHO recommends standard practices to prevent infection spread including regular hand washing and covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. As always, avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness.
A second case of coronavirus was confirmed in Chicago. The woman, a Chicago resident in her 60s, had recently traveled to Wuhan China. She is hospitalized and said to be doing well.
A third case of the new coronavirus in the U.S. has been diagnosed in Orange County, California. The CDC confirmed the case in a traveler from Wuhan, China.
The two other US cases remain hospitalized, but are said to be doing well.
The CDC is conducting entry screening of passengers on direct and connecting flights from Wuhan, China to five airport hubs: Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles, (LAX) New York city (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO).
The WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a global public health emergency.
While most of the confirmed cases are in China, 98 people have been diagnosed in 18 other countries. The CDC announced a sixth confirmed case of 2019-nCoV in the United States.
The United States has raised its travel advisory, warning citizens to not travel to China.