US Health Officials are Closely Monitoring Chinese Coronavirus Outbreak
An outbreak of a mysterious new strain of coronavirus has spread through regions of China, with cases now being reported in Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States. With the rapid spread of confirmed cases, US health officials are now preparing for a potential outbreak within the country.
The first case of coronavirus in the US was reported in Washington state on Jan. 21. A man who had traveled to China in November returned home to Washington on Jan. 15, though he was not exhibiting symptoms at the time of his arrival. The man is currently reported to be in a Washington hospital in good condition, and is not considered to be a threat to the public.
ABC News reported a passenger arriving at Los Angeles International Airport from a flight from Mexico City was hospitalized after exhibiting some form of illness. The exact cause of the symptoms is yet to be determined, and officials have not confirmed if the person had recently traveled to China. There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in California as of yet.
The California Department of Public Health said it is “working closely with CDC to respond to the outbreak of this novel coronavirus.” The department also said they will be “providing information to local health departments and health care providers across California on how to safely and effectively evaluate ill people who have been to China. The state will continue to monitor the situation, work with partners to identify any possible cases, provide information and consultation to ensure that possible cases are managed safely, support laboratory testing, and implement recommendations from the CDC.”
The outbreak was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December and is thought to have originated a city fresh food market. More than 800 people have fallen ill, and at least 26 people have died. Chinese officials have locked down the city, shutting down public transportation and not allowing anyone in or out of the city.
Symptoms of the coronavirus include a runny nose, headache, cough, and fever. More severe symptoms include shortness of breath, chills, body aches, and even pneumonia. Scientists say the coronavirus is spread through coughing or sneezing, or by touching an infected person. It is also believed to be airborne, spread from person to person in close contact through breathing.