What is Coronavirus and is it in Utah?

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – What is Coronavirus? Where did it come from and am I going to get it?

According to the World Health Organization Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. A new strain, 2019-nCov, is a strain that hasn’t been previously identified in humans.

The World Health Organization says there have been over 560 coronavirus related deaths.

A rendering of coronavirus via the CDC.

So far, there have been no confirmed cases of 2019-nCov in the state of Utah. According to the CDC from January 21st to February 5th, there have been 12 confirmed cases in the U.S in Arizona, California, Illinois, Washington, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts.


The UDOH says they will alert the public if, or when, cases are confirmed. And add they will continue to monitor the situation and provide updated information to the public.

Read the Utah Department of Health’s statement below: 

“We currently don’t have any confirmed cases in Utah. While coronavirus is certainly a public health concern, and we are doing active surveillance and monitoring of the situation, it’s important for the public to know the risk of coronavirus right now is very low in Utah and across the U.S. We would encourage people to follow the CDC travel guidance, which is to avoid unnecessary travel to China and particularly to the Hubei province area. Right now, Hong Kong and Macau are not impacted by this travel guidance.”

Charla Haley, Utah Department of Health

Outbreaks of a new virus are always concerning. The UDOH has investigated and ruled out several potential causes. While this situation poses a very serious public health threat, the risk to Utahns is low at this time, the UDOH says.

Current knowledge of 2019-nCov is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses and is posing such a threat because it is spread through person-to-person contact. 

Most often, spread of the virus from person-to-person occurs among close contacts located within 6 feet of the infected person. This is similar to how a cold or the flu is spread.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the virus can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. 

Health professionals recommend standard health precautions to prevent the virus. Regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan City, China where it continued to spread from person-to-person through travel. The virus soon spread outside China into the United States and other countries. 

Pedestrians wear protective masks as they walk through a shopping district in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. Japan’s government said Thursday a man treated for pneumonia after returning from China has tested positive for the new coronavirus identified as a possible cause of an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

The CDC confirms that 2019-nCov is in the United States but is not spreading from community to community. 

Coronavirus is being treated as a serious public health threat around the world. The CDC says the fact that this virus has caused severe illness and sustained person-to-person spread in China is concerning, but it’s unclear how the situation in the United States will unfold at this time.

The risk of exposure is dependent on contact. For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV is considered low, the CDC says. 

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (CDC via AP)

The National Institute of Health is working to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus strain. 

Officials say there is a lot more to learn about 2019-nCov and how it is transported. 

Click here to stay up to date with the latest on Coronavirus in Utah.

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