What began as fears over the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has transformed into a deadly virus, now fueling concern in the U.S. about the severity of a once slow-moving outbreak on the small island of Saint Martin.
There is now no such worry for travelers to the U.S. — but a 9-year-old girl who flew from Saint Martin has contracted a rare strain of the virus, resulting in one additional fatality and the disfigurement of another child.
The already lengthy list of cases continues to expand, with 106 infections reported since the coronavirus first spread to humans in May 2014. At least 13 people have died. State and city leaders in the United States have responded with calls for resources. In Baltimore, which has been plagued by cases of the virus, Mayor Catherine Pugh said the Department of Health, which has struggled to provide supplies like masks and gowns, would need 30,000 more such items.
Information is still hard to come by as federal officials have declined to list numbers of recent infections, saying they are waiting on human samples. But in February, health officials told The New York Times that they have yet to find the person responsible for spreading the virus, which is transmitted by contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.
Two young boys were found to have contracted the virus after accidentally touching a shallow grave. They died days after being infected. An older child with the same method of infection has died, too. Last year, the CDC determined that people could contract the virus by washing their hands with the same chemical the body uses to preserve food.
While many times, the first signs of an illness can be far too late, the first cases of the coronavirus were caught during routine examinations of flu-like symptoms. After racing to locate infected people, health officials have found other infections in people who had had frequent contact with other people who had caught the virus, or who had come into contact with places where mosquitoes transmit the disease.
The CDC now recommends that people who are sick with Zika, Ebola, or the coronavirus try to wash and cover their hands with a rag or handkerchief if they have been in contact with blood or infected bodily fluids. For other times, they recommend that they do not enter their homes until daybreak, as the possible transmission could be ongoing.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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