Deadly coronavirus from China hits U.S. as Kenya on high alert


Deadly coronavirus from China hits U.S. as Kenya on high alert
Passengers wear masks to prevent an outbreak of a new coronavirus at the Hong Kong West Kowloon High Speed Train Station, in Hong Kong, China January 23, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

What started as a mystery virus last month in Wuhan, China, has now killed at least 17 people and infected hundreds more around the world.

In the U.S., the first case of Wuhan coronavirus was confirmed in Washington State — a man in his 30s who is under observation — stoking fears of an outbreak.

On Wednesday, the Kenyan Government said surveillance and screening of passengers for coronavirus has been intensified at all ports of entry.

An alert has also been sent to all 47 counties through the directors of health and Governors to widen efforts,” the statement reads.

SYMPTOMS

According to the World Health Organization, symptoms of the coronavirus include coughing, sneezing, fever and shortness of breath.

Severe cases can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure and even death.

Scientists believe the coronavirus started in another animal and then spread to humans so health officials recommend cooking meat and eggs thoroughly.

Anyone with underlying medical conditions should avoid live animal markets and raw meats altogether, since those people are “considered at higher risk of severe disease,” the World Health Organization says.

But, in general, the public should do “what you do every cold and flu season,” said Dr. John Wiesman, the health secretary in Washington state — where the first US case of Wuhan coronavirus was confirmed.

That includes washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

If you’re the one feeling sick, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and disinfect the objects and surfaces you touch.

If you or your doctor suspect you might have the Wuhan coronavirus, the CDC advises wearing a surgical mask.

Snakes could be the source

Snakes — the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra — may be the original source of the newly discovered coronavirus that has triggered an outbreak of a deadly infectious respiratory illness in China this winter.

The many-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus), also known as the Taiwanese krait or the Chinese krait, is a highly venomous species of elapid snake found in much of central and southern China and Southeast Asia.

The illness was first reported in late December 2019 in Wuhan, a major city in central China, and has been rapidly spreading.

Since then, sick travelers from Wuhan have infected people in China and other countries.

Additional report from the Kenyan Ministry of Health 

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