WACO, Texas – It’s the middle of flu season, but now public health directors have another virus to worry about. Coronavirus has killed 17 people and has now spread to the United States.
“This is very new. It started coming on the radar in December, and so, everyday we’re learning more about it,” says Kelly Crane, of the McLennan County Public Health District.
The Coronavirus is the newest virus being monitored by WHO and the CDC. With one case confirmed in the United States on Tuesday, citizens and health officials are on high alert.
According to doctors, people who travel outside of the United States, specifically to China, are the most at risk as the virus is spread person to person.
“There are concerns for people who are going to travel outside. The CDC has been working closely with WHO and taking the proper measures. So right now they are doing an entry screening for all of the people who are coming directly from Wuhan, or taking connecting flights in major airports here in the United States,” says Lizbeth Cahuayme, Infectious Disease Specialist with Baylor Scott and White.
Symptoms of the virus are similar to flu, the common cold, or pneumonia.
“Patients will present with a fever and respiratory symptoms such a cough or shortness of breath,” says Cahuayme.
But if you haven’t traveled outside of the U.S., the threat is very low.
“I think it’s important to know that right now that it is very contained. If you are concerned about your risk, remember – if you have not traveled to China, specifically Wuhan City, you are at no risk for this,” says Crane.
As of right now, there is no vaccine for the virus because it is so new – but doctors say the Coronavirus is no cause of concern in Central Texas.
“There is no reason to be panicked. There are no concerns. There are different measures that authorities are taking to protect us so there is no concern right now,” says Cahuayme.