by staff reporter Nora Drenner
While there are no confirmed cases in Louisiana, health officials have identified more than 100 cases of coronavirus in the United States. Washington State and California have been the hardest hit.
Other states with cases are Texas, Georgia, Florida, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, North Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.
Currently the risk to the general public is low. People with recent travel to China, or who have encountered someone who has recent travel and is ill have a greater risk for becoming ill.
Reported cases range from a mild illness like a common cold to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. Symptoms include, fever, cough, shortness of breath and/difficulty breathing So far, deaths have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions.
Coronavirus has spread to dozens of countries since it was first reported in Wuhan, China, in Dec. 2019.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends basic precautions such as frequent handwashing to avoid spreading the disease, and it discourages travel to countries with outbreaks including China, Iran, Italy, France and South Korea. Additionally, persons who are sick, no matter the illness, should stay at home.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people such as has been seen with recent outbreaks of MERS and SARS.
It is believed at this time that symptoms of coronaviruses may appear in as few as two days or for up to14 days after exposure. There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for infection.
Additionally, folks are reminded it is currently flu and respiratory disease season, and flu activity is still high and expected to continue for several weeks.