Chicago resident diagnosed with coronavirus

By Ashley Dwy

DeKALB — A Chicago resident is one of four confirmed to be diagnosed with the 2019 novel coronavirus in the U.S. The other three residents are from Washington and California.

NIU students have no cause for concern because of the virus’ low risk rate in America, Beth Squires, program coordinator for public health, said.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. There are several known coronaviruses that can infect people, and they usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. Severe diseases include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, according to the World Health Organization website.

The novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of 5 p.m. Sunday, there was no recommended antiviral treatment for the coronavirus infection, according to the CDC.

Novel coronaviruses are hypothesized to originate from a seafood and animal market in Wuhan and spread from animals to humans, according to the CDC.

“[Health officials] are suspicious that it might have come from snakes, but that’s not known yet,” Squires said. “Now we’re seeing it spread from person to person, and we’re still not sure if it’s spread through air droplets or by touching surfaces that have been infected.”

San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago O’Hare, John F. Kennedy and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airports started public health entry screening of all travelers from Wuhan. On top of that, all travelers from Wuhan will be routed to one of those five airports, according to the CDC.

Squires said she recommends students regularly wash their hands to prevent any unwanted viruses.

“The best way students can protect themselves from anything — they’re going to be more likely to catch a common cold or the flu — is by washing your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands,” Squires said. “Stay away from people who are sick, and stay home if you’re sick. Then disinfect frequently touched surfaces like your keyboard.”

Squires said if students are experiencing signs of respiratory illness they should visit health services and go see a doctor.

The CDC, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, will continue to monitor the situation.