MARQUETTE COUNTY — The Center for Disease Control is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which it continues to expand. The new virus has been making quite a stir across social media and international news, that it was time to go to a professional to understand the situation further.
Dr. Kevin Piggott, the Medical Director for the Marquette County Health Department, explains that the virus is not new, but it is a different strain of the virus.
“Their are many kinds of coronaviruses and the larger group of coronaviruses have been around for years,” explained Dr. Kevin Piggott. “They infect humans and animals. Currently what has been identified in Wuhan, China, is a new coronavirus.”
The virus itself has very similar symptoms to influenza and common colds which can consist of fever, cough, drainage, shortness of breath among more symptoms. Since the major outbreak in China, the amount of cases in the United States is minimal with only a few cases tracing back to Wuhan, China. Michigan alone has seen 5 possible cases which have turned out to not be coronoavirus infections. Dr. Piggott would like the public to understand that the coronavirus is low risk in the United States and specifically the Midwest regions.
“It is not an imminent threat to the U.S.A. at this point in time,” said Dr. Piggott. “Yes this something in the future we may be dealing with and we don’t know. There is no need to panic, but remain aware, and still take all the usual precautions we recommend every fall and winter. This is so that we do not expose ourselves to influenza and other viruses.”
The best thing to avoid any infection, especially during the winter months, is personal hygiene and taking care of personal health and diet as well.
“It comes down to washing your and washing them regularly,” explained Dr. Piggott. “If you cough or sneeze, please do not do it into your hands and do it into a tissue. This is so that you are not contaminating your hands and then touching door knobs, table tops and things like that.”
Dr. Piggott does explain that even though the coronavirus is the big concern in the media for health and wellness, it is more important to be concerned with influenza.
“Influenza is what we ought to be concerned about, but we tend to be comfortable with it,” explained Dr. Piggott. This is because we are familiar with it, but in comparison, there have been about 22 million cases of influenza estimated in the nation. There have been about 210 thousand hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths.”
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