Today, an expert on infectious disease joins us to address the growing international concerns about the new coronavirus outbreak in China, and how the highly contagious disease could impact public health in the United States, and in particular, in Maryland.
The new pathogen, which epidemiologists are calling 2019 novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, was first identified this past December in Wuhan - the populous capital of Hubei province in central China - where officials say more than 6,000 people have now fallen ill. The contagion has expanded beyond its epicenter in Wuhan, with more than 150 cases reported in Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Vietnam.
So far, just five cases have been identified in the United States, and just one is under investigation in Maryland.
Across the state, officials in health care, educational and other institutions with highly mobile international populations are taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.
Dr. Lisa Maragakis is executive director of the Biocontainment Unit at Johns Hopkins Medicine, as well as the senior director of Infection Prevention with the Johns Hopkins Health System. She joins Tom to explain what the coronavirus is, and what precautions are being taken, and must still be taken, to prevent its spread.