JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders at the Mississippi State Department of Health said they are monitoring the new coronavirus, although no cases have been reported in the state. The death toll from the virus in China is 170 and the number of cases has risen to 7,711.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said the coronavirus is not something to take lightly.
“In the U.S., there have been five confirmed cases of this coronavirus. Those cases that have been imported from outside the U.S., from China. In Wuhan city actually,” said Dr. Byers.
He explained the virus comes in the form of a respiratory illness that causes fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.
“There are different types of the coronavirus. Typically, these will infect animals. And sometimes when there is very close contact to an animal, sometimes it can affect a person. And we’ve seen that with things that are new, like the flu, that have gone from birds to people or from pigs to people,” stated Dr. Byers.
Multiple airlines have chosen to stop flights in China, in hopes of preventing the virus from spreading further. Dr. Byers said even if you’re traveling, there’s really no reason to worry.
“If you’re just walking through the airport, especially in the United States, it’s important to understand that the general public is not at risk of being exposed to the virus right now.”
If you’re sick and traveling, make sure to cover your coughs and sneezes. Also, wash your hands as much as possible and go to the doctor as soon as you can.