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Everything you need to know about coronavirus

What is the coronavirus?  Here's information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the New York State Health Department about the virus.

What is novel coronavirus?

Officially called 2019 novel coronavirus, it is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hebei Province, China. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more dangerous strains, such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

Where did it come from?

The outbreak may have some sort of link to a seafood and animal market in Wuhan.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can be mild to severe. They include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

How is it spread?

The virus probably started from an animal source. Other coronaviruses, such as MERS and SARS, started from animals. But it now appears 2019 novel coronavirus is spreading from person-to-person. It's likely spread via "respiratory droplets" from an infected person, such as when they cough or sneeze.

How many cases are there?

Nearly 3,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus, according to the New York Times. Almost all of them are in China. Eighty deaths have been reported in China.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed five cases as of Jan. 27, 2020. There are 110 people in the United States who are being monitored, the Times reported.

How about in New York?

The state Health Department reportedly has five persons under investigation for novel coronavirus as of Jan. 27 who are under isolation as their cases are being tested at the CDC. Four other cases have been proven negative.

What about in Buffalo?

No cases have been confirmed in Erie County, according to the Erie County Health Department.

What if I recently traveled to Wuhan, China, and got sick?

The CDC urges anyone who traveled to Wuhan and now feels sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days after you left Wuhan to:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Don't travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Is there a vaccine?

No.

Is there treatment?

There is no specific treatment for the virus. But people infected should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.

What about animals or animal products imported from China?

The CDC does not have any evidence to suggest that animals or animal products imported from China pose a risk for spreading the virus at this time.

Sources: CDC, WHO, NYS Department of Health

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