PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While the coronavirus continues to spread quickly, especially in China, health officials say there’s no evidence it’s spreading in the United States. All the confirmed patients here had recently traveled to China.
Dr. Zachary Klase, a virologist at Philadelphia’s University of the Sciences, says coronavirus symptoms are very similar to the flu and influenza is a much bigger threat to Americans right now.
“I would be more worried about the flu, the flu is already here and causes tens of thousands of deaths,” he said.
Symptoms may include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and fever.
The Center for Disease Control says 110 people in 26 states in the U.S. are currently under investigation for potential cases of coronavirus.
They say the risk for infection is low but they are expecting more cases, primarily in travelers.
Federal health officials say the number of coronavirus cases here in the U.S. remains at five. Those cases have been reported in travelers from China in four U.S. states including California, Arizona, Illinois and Washington state.
“We are looking very hard. There have been many travelers that have come back from China and so there is every anticipation that more cases will be diagnosed but will be taken care of appropriately,” Dr. William Schaffner from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center said.
The outbreak of this new coronavirus started in Wuhan, China. More than 2,800 people have been infected so far — more than 80 have died.
The outbreak has prompted screenings at five major airports in the United States.
About 2,400 people traveling from Wuhan have been screened and the agency is considering broadening screening.
The CDC has developed a test to diagnose this coronavirus and is now working on a plan so priority states get these testing kits as soon as possible.
Federal health officials also say it appears the virus survives just hours on surfaces, so there is low to no risk the virus can spread from products or packages shipped overseas.