New coronavirus has doctors around the world on alert

More than 500 people sickened

The efforts to contain coronavirus outbreak
The efforts to contain coronavirus outbreak

DETROIT – Officials with the World Health Organization were not yet ready to declare the deadly new coronavirus a global public health emergency but doctors around the world are on alert.

Emergency physicians and other local healthcare providers received notifications from the state alert system about the potential spread of the new coronavirus around 2 weeks ago.

READ: What Is the Coronavirus? As Disease Spreads From China To U.S., Here’s What You Need to Know

The city believed to be ground zero for the mysterious coronavirus has been sealed off. According to Chinese State Media officials in Wuhan are taking steps to quarantine residents and have halted outbound flights and trains. The virus has taken the lives of 17 people and sickened more than 500.

The first confirmed patient in the United States is a Seattle-area man who had recently traveled to Wuhan is hospitalized and reportedly in good condition. Health experts are working to trace his contacts.

The focus is now on identifying and isolating future possible cases. The U.S. is working to funnel all travelers from Wuhan through five airports, including O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. They will be screened for fever, cough or shortness of breath.

The latest guidance sent to physicians from Michigan’s health alert network is that doctors should ask patients with a fever and lower respiratory illness about recent travel to the Wuhan region or China or if they’ve been in close contact with anyone under investigation for the coronavirus.

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