BULLHEAD CITY — There have been no confirmed reports of the 2019 novel coronavirus in the Tri-state despite an unfounded rumor being spread on social media.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that there have been five confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, all linked to people who had traveled to Wuhan, China, epicenter of the outbreak.
One of the five confirmed cases was in Arizona — in Maricopa County, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Heatlh.
One novel coronavirus case was confirmed in Washington state, another in Illinois and two in California. The two California cases included one in Orange County and one in Los Angeles County, according to the Associated Press.
Denise Burley, director of the Mohave County Department of Heatlh, said no cases have been reported in the Tri-state.
“The case that was recently diagnosed in Arizona was in Maricopa County,” said Burley. “Experts believe the 2019 novel coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Most people appear to get sick two days to 14 days after being exposed. Patients with 2019 novel coronavirus reportedly have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.”
Officials with the Arizona Department of Health Services said the Maricopa County patient wasn’t severely ill and was in isolation at home to keep the illness from spreading. The department said it would not release potentially identifying information on the person, including the gender and age, and declined to say whether the person was a student or faculty member at Arizona State University.
Burley said that taking everyday preventative measures can reduce the spread of the 2019-nCoV, as well as influenza and colds.
The measures include:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or another item — not your hands — when coughing or sneezing;
- When possible, avoid crowded areas;
- Stay home when sick;
- Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
Burley said county health officials are taking the outbreak, though limited in the U.S., seriously.
“Mohave County Department of Health is monitoring the situation and will implement an outbreak response plan if needed,” said Burley. “The plan is scalable and dependent on the circumstances and the situation. The plan can be applied to any communicable and infectious disease outbreak in the county, and built into the state response if needed.”
Worldwide, more than 2,000 cases of the novel cornonavirus have been confirmed, the CDC said Monday. All have been linked to Wuhan, China. More than two dozen people have died from the disease in China.
“Our thoughts are with the people on the front lines of this emerging public health threat in China,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a call with journalists.
“This is a rapidly changing situation, both here and abroad,” she added.
A handful of cases have been reported in other countries as well, including Australia, Japan, Thailand, France, South Korea, Vietnam and Canada.
There is no existing vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold. Others have evolved into more severe illnesses, such as SARS and MERS, although the new virus so far does not appear to be as deadly or contagious.
The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia.