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The risk of 2019 Novel Coronavirus remains low for the general public, but health care partners are prepared if the respiratory illness were to emerge in our community.
Although this is a new virus, in many ways, this coronavirus will be similar to our past experiences with respiratory viruses. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as well as the common cold, are all types of coronavirus.
Health care partners have been in regular contact with the emergence of the virus internationally, and our health care systems have extensive experience diagnosing and treating respiratory illness. Partners will maintain open lines of communication about this situation, and public health in particular will continue to coordinate with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There have been no cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in Greene County to date, nor have there been any confirmed cases in Missouri.
At this time, all five illnesses seen in the United States were individuals who had traveled to Wuhan, China, where the virus is believed to have originated. There has been no transmission from travelers to others within the United States at this time. Individuals who have not traveled to Wuhan, China in the last two weeks are considered to be at little to no risk for this illness.
Symptoms of this illness are similar to cold or flu symptoms. While there have been deaths associated with this virus—none in the US at this time—there have been far more flu-associated deaths this year (550 in the state of Missouri alone this season). This is a good reminder to practice respiratory etiquette, stay home if you are sick and get your flu shot.
Image by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention