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Wuhan Coronavirus in the US: Understanding the Threat

January 21, 2020
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The Centers for Disease Control stated the first United States of the Wuhan Coronavirus has been confirmed, early Jan. 21. The virus originated in China, has spread quickly and killed six so far. So what exactly is the Wuhan Coronavirus and how can you ensure you do not contract it?Coronavirus is actually a small category of viruses. There are seven known human Coronaviruses, according to the CDC website, here. The Wuhan strain is the most recent of them. (Have you ever heard of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)? SARS is also a coronavirus and caused almost 800 deaths in 2002-2003.) Some of the most common side effects of coronaviruses are flu-like symptoms and lower respiratory infections causing pneumonia or bronchitis.The Coronavirus can be spread through coughing, shaking hands and other close contact, or even touching surfaces that have the virus then putting that in, on, or near, your respiratory areas. Basically, it can be prevented by washing your hands thoroughly, not touching everything if you don't feel well, and so forth. Basic rules when you are sick in general. As with any virus, once you contract it, it must run its course and all that can really be done is rest, hydrate, and prevent spreading the virus farther.The Center for Disease Control's media release states the Wuhan Coronavirus originated from a market in Wuhan with potentially contaminated animals. It then spread to humans. The release, found here, states:

"China health officials report that most of the patients infected with 2019-nCoV have had exposure to a large market where live animals were present, suggesting this is a novel virus that has jumped the species barrier to infect people. Chinese authorities additionally report that several hundred health care workers caring for outbreak patients are being monitored and no spread of this virus from patients to health care workers has been seen."

The Mayo Clinic website defines a virus as:

"Viruses are even smaller than bacteria and require living hosts — such as people, plants or animals — to multiply. Otherwise, they can't survive. When a virus enters your body, it invades some of your cells and takes over the cell machinery, redirecting it to produce the virus."

Since the Wuhan Coronavirus has already spread to multiple countries, major international flight hubs have implemented screenings for persons travelling sick. The CDC media release also says:

"Entry screening is part of a layered approach used with other public health measures already in place to detect arriving travelers who are sick (such as detection and reporting of ill travelers by airlines during travel and referral of ill travelers arriving at a US port of entry by CBP) to slow and reduce the spread of any disease into the United States.CDC is deploying about 100 additional staff to the three airports (SFO, JFK, and LAX) to supplement existing staff at CDC quarantine stations located at those airports."

Viruses can get out of hand quickly, and this one is said to be just as deadly as SARS, so it is imperative to reduce its spread as efficiently as possible. If you are going to travel, take extra cleanliness precautions. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap, be careful in large groups where people are coughing and being generally unsanitary, and make sure if you are sick, you stay home to reduce the spread of any virus.

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