By Arlene Ocampo and Jessieca Bautista
EBC Washington D.C.Bureau
WASHINGTON, DC (Eagle News) – The latest and primary concern in the international and domestic medical world today is the rapid outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. From its origin in Wuhan, China, the virus, scientifically named 2019-nCoV, has spread to about 18 locations around the world including Europe and the United States. Most of those who have been infected were associated with travel from Wuhan, China. Early on, a majority of the cases were suspected to be “animal to person” spread. Eventually, there were reported cases of “person to person” spread. The source of the virus is still being researched thoroughly and systematically by public health organizations.
What is the Coronavirus
Coronavirus is a respiratory illness. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website , it is a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals.
Animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people, just like a regular cold or flu. Earlier respiratory illness cases caused by the coronavirus in Wuhan, China were attributed to having some link to large seafood and live animal markets. In the most recent cases, however, health officials have learned that those infected had no exposure to animal markets – a strong indication of that the virus was spreading by person-to-person contact.
What are the Symptoms
General symptoms include:
- Mild to severe respiratory illness with fever,
- Difficulty in breathing
Symptoms of the 2019-nCoV may manifest from 2 to 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been previously observed with the MERS virus. There is currently no vaccine for this virus.
2019-nCoV in the U.S.
According to the CDC, there is a growing number of countries who have confirmed cases of this virus. The list includes China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, The Republic of Korea, Vietnam and the United States.
As of this writing, in the United States, there are currently five confirmed cases; one in Washington State, two in California, one in Arizona, and one in Chicago. In all, the CDC is investigating 110 cases across 26 states.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. Containing this outbreak and preventing exposure to the virus is, right now, the best way to prevent infection. CDC is recommending that everyone do their part to help them respond to this emerging public health threat by doing the following:
- 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.
- For everyone: It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking precaution to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
- For healthcare professionals: Be on the look-out for people who may have travelled to China and has fever and respiratory symptoms.
On January 27, 2020, CDC issued travel guidance for China, recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to all of the country (Level 3 Travel Health Notice).
Teams have been deployed to US locations to assist health departments with clinical management, contact tracing and communications. According to the CDC, there is currently a real time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) test being implemented at CDC but is expected to be shared with other domestic and international partners.
(Eagle News Service)