Rutgers faculty weighs in on coronavirus
The Wuhan coronavirus has killed 56 people and affected approximately 2,000 others in China, where it originated. The virus is continuing to spread globally, according to an article on CNN.
Debra Chew, an assistant professor of Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School who used to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the disease belongs to a larger family of viruses that has previously not been seen in humans, according to an article on Rutgers Today.
“While a lot about this new coronavirus is still unknown, it may have been transmitted to humans from an animal source, as many of the confirmed early cases were linked to a seafood/live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed,” Chew said, according to the article.
Chew said in the article that close contact with someone infected with the disease facilitated its spread. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. The virus can also result in severe symptoms such as pneumonia, kidney failure or death.
Because the virus is new, Chew said, there is no specific treatment, but the individual symptoms can be treated. She said the CDC and the World Health Organization are currently researching the virus to understand the causes and improve the treatment, according to the article.
“Since this is a new virus, there is no vaccine, and it can take (a) number of years for a new vaccine to be developed,” Chew said.
Five cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the United States, according to CNN, but Chew said the risk for Americans is still low, according to the article. Melodee Lasky, assistant vice chancellor for Health and Wellness, sent a University-wide email on Jan. 23 to inform students about the symptoms of the disease.
“While there have been no reported cases in our region, I urge everyone to be mindful of the symptoms and to seek treatment immediately if you feel you may have contracted the illness,” Lasky said.
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