SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are currently five confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus in the United States, but there’s an additional 73 pending cases.
The CDC reports the Novel Coronavirus is a new coronavirus.
Coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. The CDC also says most people will contract a type of coronavirus sometime in their life.
This new virus is called 2019-nCoV. According to the CDC’s website, 2019-nCoV infected people in Washington, California, Arizona and Illinois.
What is 2019-nCoV?
The CDC says 2019-nCoV is a respiratory illness. Symptoms can include: fever, cough and shortness of breath. While some infected people report few to no symptoms, others are severely ill and dying.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe at this time symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 after exposure.
The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention say all the cases reported outside China had a recent travel history to China prior to disease onset, except one case in Vietnam. This is the first human-to-human transmission outside China.
The ECDC’s website says human-to-human transmission has been confirmed but more information is needed to evaluate the full extent of this mode of transmission. However, the source of infection is unknown and could still be active.
Should you be worried?
Out of the 2,820 cases, only five of those are reported in the United States. And, out of the 2,820 cases 81 people have died, all of which in China. That’s less than 3% of the confirmed cases.
What is concerning is the amount of information known about the virus, which isn’t much. The source of the outbreak is still under investigation. How the virus is spreading is also being investigated.
Human to human transmission is confirmed in China, but the ECDC doesn’t have enough epidemiological information to determine the extent of this human-to-human transmission. Meaning, it could be transferred by bodily fluids or just being in close contact with one another.
Since this is a new illness, there is no vaccine or treatment yet. Dr. Kevin Post is a Chief Medical Officer for Avera Healthcare. He says a vaccine could take up to at least a year to make.
He also says 2019-nCoV is something the group is monitoring closely. Post says the symptoms resemble other flu and cold illnesses, but patients only need to be concerned if they have recently traveled to China in the past 14 days.
“Right here in South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and our other surrounding states that we take care for, there’s been no documented cases. The five cases are elsewhere. I believe, the closest being in Illinois in the Chicago area,” Post said.
Right now, Post says the best strategy is prevention. The same prevention people do with most diseases. Wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough and stay home when sick.
We will update you when more information becomes available about 2019-nCoV.