Health experts don’t expect coronavirus but are preparing

Updated: Feb. 7, 2020 at 4:52 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The coronavirus is quickly spreading across China. The virus, while limited in the U.S., is concerning for infectious disease doctors.

"It's scary in the sense that it's something that is transmitting,” said infectious disease professor Dr. Joanne Maffei. “It's a new virus and we don't know enough about it."

The large red spot on a map by Johns Hopkins shows the focus of the virus in Mainland China with more than 31,000 patients.

"This is developing minute by minute. We don't know enough,” Maffei said.

She is one of three doctors that spoke to a group of physicians, clinicians, and students about the virus’ signs.

LSU Heath Infectious Disease Chief professor Dr. Julio Figueroa says because of how fast this virus is spreading clinical trials are underway.

"People have been doing a lot of studies in the lab and also in animal models looking at viruses that are similar to this particular virus," Figueroa.

Figueroa says doctors treated an infected Washington State patient with a new drug they’re testing.

"His fever went away then he started improving after that so whether it is a true, true related true, true unrelated, is it correlated, or is it causal is really hard to know," Figueroa said.

He says it’s too soon to connect the drug to his improvement.

“As far as we know, his fever went away, the day after but we don’t know whether he would have gotten better anyway. It just seemed that his core was seeming to get worse at the time.”

In Louisiana, Dr. Joseph Kanter says the state has protocols in place if someone starts showing symptoms.

“That said, it needs to be mentioned, the risk in Louisiana is low to minimal right now. We have no case in Louisiana at the moment,” Kanter said. “We don’t even have anyone under suspicion in Louisiana.”

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