Wuhan Coronavirus

OK, everyone is talking about the Coronavirus infection that started in Wuhan, China and is spreading throughout the world. What do you need to know about it?

This infection was first reported in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. A number of the first cases were reported in people who had connections to a large seafood and animal market, but later cases seemed to clearly show person-to-person transmission.

The infection is now here in the United States, and not everyone who has tested positive for the virus has been to China. Clearly the virus can pass from person to person. As of Friday, 1/31, there have been seven cases in the United States.

Wuhan Coronavirus is a respiratory illness that causes fever, cough and shortness of breath. Serious cases can involve pneumonia. Symptoms can be mild to severe. There is no vaccine, although scientists are working to develop one, and as of now there is no widely available treatment. A combination of medications designed for influenza and HIV seems to be helpful though.

Right now the best way to stay safe from this virus is to avoid infection. Travel to China has been restricted by the State Department. People returning from the Wuhan region of China are being quarantined.

If you have been to China and are sick with a respiratory illness, please see the doctor right away and tell the doctor immediately that you were in China. Follow sensible precautions like washing hands, covering coughs and disinfecting surfaces in your home.

The Wuhan Coronavirus can be deadly. About 2% of cases in China have been fatal. Compared to influenza, which kills about 1 in 1000 people who catch it, this is much more dangerous but also much more rare. 360 people have died in China from Coronavirus, compared to over 34,000 people who died in the United States in the 2018-2019 flu season.

Be aware of Wuhan Coronavirus. Don’t travel to China until the State Department announces it is safe. If you have traveled and get sick, see the doctor and make sure they know your travel history. Take sensible precautions. And don’t panic.

QUESTION: Are you worried about Wuhan Coronavirus?

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