Most likely, you are aware of the coronavirus that was initially detected in Wuhan, China. We are providing you with some basic information on this issue, even though at this time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of exposure is unlikely, and the immediate health risk is considered low for most of the American public.

What is the coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals, including humans and birds. In humans, the virus causes respiratory infections which are typically mild but, in rare cases, can be severe.

Cases have been identified in travelers from Wuhan to other parts of China and the world, including the United States. As of March 3, 2020, CDC reported community spread of the virus at varying degrees in several U.S. states.

Available information suggests that older adults and persons with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease.

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a respiratory virus and can be transmitted from person to person by inhaling, coughing or sneezing. Infected people will experience flu-like symptoms 2 to 14 days after exposure. Initial symptoms of the new coronavirus include fever, cough, tightness of the chest, runny nose, headache and shortness of breath. Serious cases can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure and, in some cases, death.

How can I prevent the spread of infections like the coronavirus?

The World Health Organization’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to (and reduce transmission of) a range of illnesses (including the Coronavirus) include the following hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
  • If you visit a live market in areas currently experiencing cases of coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals
  • The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods

Where can I get more information about this issue?

We appreciate your attention to this important matter.

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