State health official weighs in on Coronavirus

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Centers for Disease Control say there have been six deaths and over 300 diagnoses linked to the Wuhan Coronavirus.

The virus has symptoms similar to the flu, but it's much different.

South Dakota Epidemiologist Dr. Josh Clayton said, "What is new about this is it is likely to be a coronavirus that has been circulating in animals that have now infected individuals, humans."

The respiratory virus is believed to have spread from a large seafood market in Wuhan, China and has now spread to six countries, including the United States. Although we are still in the early stages of the disease, there are a few things we do know.

"What we do know is this is novel coronavirus, this coronavirus does cause pneumonia in individuals," Clayton added.
The coronavirus is said to be much like influenza, but this disease has no vaccine.

Clayton said, "The most important thing to know is that there is no vaccine against this novel coronavirus, and so what we really do rely on is the general respiratory precautions that we often take when influenza is circulating within the community."

Which is to wash your hands and stay away from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. The United States is actively trying to stop this virus at its borders.

"Individuals who are returning travelers to the United States from Wuhan are now going through this active screening process to identify individuals who may be ill, or should be watching themselves for illness," said Clayton.

Dr. Clayton says the South Dakota Department of Health is working closely with the CDC and health providers throughout the state to ensure everyone is aware of the virus and is prepared if it were to make its way to the state.