COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A new virus that has been widespread and even deadly in China now has one reported case in the United States. This a new strain of a coronavirus that was just identified weeks ago.
According to the Centers of Disease Control, There are many different strains of the coronavirus that normally cause mild to moderate upper respiratory illnesses, similar to the common cold. But this new strain has already proven to be serious. There are reports of several deaths and patients in critical condition in China after the strain was first reported in late December.
"It's a virus that's similar to the flu, influenza," said Doctor Lachin Hatemi of Veritas Health Group. "It came from animals, to humans...now it's able to spread from human to human."
Most of the reports of the virus have been concentrated in China. Now, officials are taking screening precautions in major airports around the United States, but Dr. Hatemi says it doesn't hurt to be cautious even if you're not a world traveler.
"We already have a case in Seattle," he said. "Because of the international travel and rapidly moving groups of people, we should be worried."
As far as prevention goes, the CDC advises disinfecting objects and surfaces, avoiding close contact with others, and practicing proper hand sanitation. If you're already sick, Hatemi says, take precautions because this illness can look like the flu.
"Headaches, body aches, chills, coughs, and then it can progress into respiratory distress," he said. "If someone has a flu-like illness, regardless of positive or negative tests, you need to separate them from the other family members and make sure they don't interact with society until they feel better."
As for now, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says that the risk level for Americans in the US is still low, but they're still keeping a close eye on the outbreak. There currently is not a vaccine or treatment to combat this new strain of the coronavirus.
Disinfectants can kill the virus, and the CDC recommends cleaning all surfaces such as keyboards, phones, countertops, and tables.