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Coronavirus Outbreak: How to protect yourself

The Coronavirus Outbreak is a new virus that was first detected in Wuhan China. The virus is a respiratory illness that can be spread from person-to-person much like the way a common cold or flu virus is spread. Reported symptoms include mild to severe fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after you’ve been exposed to the virus. The CDC and health officials are not exactly sure the source of the virus and is unclear how easily it can spread.
Coronaviruses origins are found in many different types of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. China’s health officials believe the new virus may be linked to large seafood and live animal markets because a large number of patients reported having had exposure to an animal market in Wuhan China. Therefore, China’s health official suggested the virus was spread from animal-to-person creating the person-to-person spread. That particular market in Wuhan has since been closed. All travel to Wuhan China has been banded and the CDC advised that all non-essential traveler to China be avoided.
The virus has been rapidly spreading across China with thousands of confirmed cases, including reported cases in other countries and the US. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), there have been over 7,800 cases reported in China. One hundred seventy deaths only reported in China which included 16 healthcare workers. Another 90 cases are confirmed outside of China in 19 countries. Countries with the most confirmed cases include Thailand with 14 and Japan with 11.
On Monday, January 27, Nancy Messonnier, MD, Director of the agency’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said they had 165 persons under investigation for coronavirus from 36 states. In addition to the 5 confirmed positive cases reported in Washington, Illinois, California, and Arizona, 68 have tested negative. The first US patient was a man in his 30s from Washington state who had traveled from Wuhan and entered the country before the coronavirus screening was in place. He started having symptoms and contacted his doctor. He is in good condition and is in isolation at Providence Regional Medical Center.
The CDC reported they are prioritizing the testing based on a person’s risk. All testing for the coronavirus is taking place at the CDC’s headquarter in Atlanta. Currently, there is no vaccine or specific treatment for the virus, but the National Institutes of Health is working on one and hopes to begin testing in several months. There is no cure for the virus; affected patients are receiving supportive care for their symptoms, such as fluids and pain relievers. Hospitalized patients are kept isolated and treated for severe acute respiratory infection which may include support with breathing.
Because there is no cure or a vaccine, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and all respiratory viruses. Prevention actions including: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. 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. Avoid travel to affected areas and use extra precaution when traveling in airports by wearing a surgical face mask.
Most importantly, if you experience any of the symptoms of fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical care right away. People who think they may have been exposed to coronavirus should contact their healthcare provider immediately and avoid contact with others until after receiving treatment.

Cokeitha Gaddist
Cokeitha Gaddist (94 Posts)