East Tennessee disease specialists say coronavirus not cause for widespread panic

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The U.S. confirmed two cases of coronavirus in U.S. patients this week, one in Washington state and one in Chicago.

Both patients had traveled to Wuhan, China, the city at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, according to ABC News.

In East Tennessee, experts on infectious diseases are aware of the updates and CDC reports about the coronavirus, but are not advocating the general public, especially those in East Tennessee who have not traveled to China, to be worried.

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“Factor that against the tens of thousands of influenza, and hundreds of deaths this year from influenza, which is a common illness and we’re right in the middle of a nationwide outbreak of that virus. If you get sick, you’re more likely to get the flu,” said Dr. John Adams, Covenant Health Infection Prevention Specialist.

Chinese health authorities confirmed that the virus has been transmitted between humans Jan. 20, increasing concern over the millions of people expected to travel for the Chinese New Year this week.

According to ABC News, many of the original reports of the virus in Wuhan were among people who worked at or visited a seafood and live-animal market, cases among people who weren’t connected to the market have mounted in recent weeks.

That market was closed and fumigated on Jan. 1.

There is evidence of “limited human-to-human transmission” of the new virus, according to the World Health Organization, but not enough to evaluate the extent of that human transmission.

“At this point, I wouldn’t really change my plans. There’s not enough information that normal activities in our area would need to be modified,” said Dr. Mark Rasnake, Infectious Diseases at UT Medical Center.

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