Health officials in Los Angeles and Orange County are dealing with the first cases of people with the new strain of coronavirus, but emphasize that there is no evidence that the virus has spread beyond the two patients.
What is known about the Orange County patient?
The Orange County person recently visited the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, China. The patient is in good condition and remains isolated in a hospital.
Authorities are following up with any individuals who have had close contact with the patient, but also noted that those who had casual contact – such as visiting the same grocery store or movie theater – “are at minimal risk of developing the infection.”
“The risk of local transmission remains low,” the authorities noted. While officials waited for confirmation of the virus in the laboratory, the patient was instructed on how to reduce exposure of the virus to others.
And what is known about the Los Angeles case?
This patient was also in Wuhan recently.
“The infected person presented for medical attention when he noticed that he was not feeling well; You are currently undergoing medical treatment. There is no immediate threat to the general public, no special precautions are required, and people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin or recent travel if they do not have symptoms of respiratory illness, “officials emphasized in a declaration.
Are these the first cases in California?
Yes. As of last Friday, 18 people between the ages of three to 58 had been tested for the virus in California, according to the state Department of Public Health. These included a traveler who arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on a flight from Mexico City and was taken to a hospital early Thursday morning for further evaluation.
Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health, stated in a video statement last week that the immediate health risk to the general public in California is low, according to current information, but that the department is carefully monitoring the virus and considering it “a serious public health issue.”
What is the virus?
It is a new type of coronavirus that scientists have not seen before.
Coronaviruses circulate in a variety of animals, including humans. Some types can cause common colds; Others have evolved to serious illnesses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
The key outbreak virus in China emerged as a pneumonia-like illness. Most of those who got sick had contact with a large seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, suggesting it would have gone from animals to humans, said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for National Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Center. for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The market was closed earlier this month for disinfection.
Authorities became more concerned about the outbreak when cases were detected in Thailand and Japan among people who had recently visited Wuhan. Health officials around the world are now adopting various strategies, including airport inspections, in an effort to stem the spread of the virus.
How concerned are the experts about the spread in the US?
“Don’t panic unless you’re paid for it,” said Brandon Brown, an epidemiologist at UC Riverside who has studied many deadly outbreaks.
“Public health workers should be vigilant. The government has to be ready to provide resources. Timely transmission of news to the public is key, “said Brown. “But for everyone else: breathe easy.”
More than three weeks after the outbreak that caused 56 deaths and spread to at least 2,000 people in 14 countries and territories, scientists have learned some important questions about the virus.
It is a coronavirus with symptoms such as fever and difficulty breathing, in young and healthy people. Many of the related deaths to date were from people who were at least 50 years old with underlying medical problems or weakened immune systems, Chinese officials said.
“We have no evidence yet to suggest that this is more virulent than the flu seen in the United States each year,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiology researcher at the T.H. Chan of Public Health, from Harvard University. “Most people, with proper medical care, will be fine.”