Emerging public health concern about Wuhan coronavirus

Emerging public health concern about Wuhan coronavirus

Since December, a new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, has killed at least 17 people and sickened close to 600. Cases continue to spread globally, with one identified in Washington state. In response to the evolving outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is routing U.S.-bound travelers from Wuhan to five airports for screening at JFK New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago's O'Hare. The Chinese government has quarantined the city of Wuhan, shutting down its airport and public transportation, and expanded the public transportation shutdown to at least four more cities. Debra Chew, a former epidemic intelligence officer for the CDC, an assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the medical director for infection prevention and control at University Hospital in Newark, N.J., discusses this emerging public health concern. What is the Wuhan coronavirus? This is a new virus that has not been previously identified in humans. It belongs to a large family of viruses called coronaviruses. These viruses can cause respiratory illnesses such as the common cold and more severe illnesses such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome [SARS] or the Middle East respiratory syndrome [MERS]. Currently, a lot is unknown about the Wuhan coronavirus, but the CDC and the World Health Organization are actively investigating to learn more about this virus, the way it spreads and its severity of illness. Should Americans be concerned? While any new virus is a serious public health concern, the immediate health risk to the American public is deemed low at this point. The virus is thought to have some limited person-to-person spread, and the CDC and WHO are conducting ongoing investigations to learn more about the degree of this spread. What do we know about how the virus spreads? Related Stories



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