Categories: HealthNews

Wyoming Department of Health closely monitoring coronavirus

WYOMING — With five cases of coronavirus cases now confirmed in the United States and hundreds more being investigated, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is closely monitoring the situation and sharing recommendations with Wyoming healthcare providers.

“At this point, no reported or suspected cases have been identified in Wyoming,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “We have communicated the latest information regarding patient care, infection control and testing procedures with healthcare providers across Wyoming and will continue to share updates as needed. This is clearly a quickly growing and changing situation.”

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold. The origins of the 2019 novel coronavirus appear to be linked to a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China. The disease has spread with cases now reported in several other countries including the United States.

“At this time, the risk of infection appears to be most closely linked to recent travel to Wuhan, China or direct close contact with a person with confirmed novel coronavirus infection,” said Clay Van Houten, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit manager. “If we have a suspected case reported in Wyoming, we will follow up appropriately with patient and community safety in mind.”

Although scientists are still learning about this newly discovered virus, symptoms of infection have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath.

USA map of spread of coronavirus. Image: CDC
Global map of spread of coronavirus. Image: CDC

How it Spreads

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS and SARS. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by 2019-nCov in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring.

At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Chinese officials report that sustained person-to-person spread in the community is occurring in China. Person-to-person spread in the United States has not yet been detected, but it’s likely to occur to some extent. Cases in healthcare settings, like hospitals, may also occur.

When person-to-person spread has occurred with MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of SARS and MERS between people has generally occurred between close contacts.

It’s important to note that how easily a virus spreads person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s important to know this in order to better understand the risk associated with this virus. While CDC considers this is a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time.

Symptoms

For confirmed 2019-nCoV infections, reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.

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