Froedtert doctor assesses coronavirus threat to Wisconsin

NOW: Froedtert doctor assesses coronavirus threat to Wisconsin

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- A second case of coronavirus in the U.S. has been confirmed in Chicago.

The first was in Washington State.

Dr. Mary Beth Graham, Froedtert Hospital’s Director of Infection Prevention and Control, says coronavirus is a concern for people who have traveled to Wuhan, China recently, or been in close contact with someone who has, and is showing symptoms of either cough or fever.

Wuhan is where this novel form of coronavirus originated.

The woman who has it in Chicago was in Wuhan in December.

Sixty-three other people in the U.S. are being investigated for possible coronavirus in 22 states.

Officials at UW-Platteville are being cautious with six students who recently returned from Wuhan, monitoring them for possible coronavirus. 

"But they're not symptomatic," Dr. Graham said. "The CDC and state aren't even recommending surveilling everybody who comes back from that area."

“[Americans] shouldn’t be frightened or afraid, but don’t think that we’re not taking this very seriously,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Graham says coronavirus spreads through coughs and sneezes.

She says it’s in the same family as the SARS and MERS viruses, and can do similar damage.

"Those viruses don't just infect the upper respiratory system,” Graham said. “They go down into the lungs and can cause pneumonia."

But unless you’ve traveled to Wuhan and shown symptoms, Graham says the flu is a greater concern to her than coronavirus.

A Mitchell International Airport spokesperson told CBS 58 they’re awaiting guidance from the CDC before beginning any passenger screening.

A spokesperson with Amtrak, which operates the Hiawatha train between Chicago and Milwaukee, said the same.

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