You’ve probably heard about the Coronavirus outbreak that began in China. Authorities now have a lead on the source of the new deadly outbreak of this disease. Scientists believe snakes, specifically the Chinese krait and Chinese cobra, could be the outbreak’s source. After analyzing the genetic sequencing, they concluded that the 2019-nCoV was a recombination of two known coronaviruses. One is of unknown origin, but the other is known to infect bats. Though it’s rare for coronaviruses to transfer from animals to people, it is possible. Researchers considered other animal hosts the possible culprit but concluded snakes are likely suspects. Scientists from Purdue University say this strain of the coronavirus has genetic similarities to the SARS variant that killed over 750 people in 2002. 

2019-nCoV Investigations in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports three confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Michigan – two from Washtenaw County and one from Macomb County. Luckily, their illnesses are considered mild at this time. Samples have been taken from the infected individuals and sent to the CDC for analysis, which should take a few days. Suppose you recently traveled to Wuhan or contacted someone else who did. In that case, you should be on the lookout for signs of lower respiratory illness like a cough, trouble breathing, or a fever. Please get in touch with your doctor immediately if these symptoms develop.

What About Other Cases, Like in Chicago?

Illinois health officials confirmed two cases of the new coronavirus. The newest patient is a woman in her 60s who visited Wuhan in December and returned home to Chicago on January 13, 2020. Her condition is being closely monitored, but she is reportedly stable. Luckily, she did not use public transportation, nor did she exhibit symptoms when flying home. As for the rest of the country, the CDC says the immediate risk to the general public is low. They are, however, monitoring 63 other possible infections across 22 states.

Is There A Cure?

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine or specific treatment for the 2019-nCoV. Patients instead receive supportive care. The Perdue University scientists diligently work on a vaccine they hope to test on the new coronavirus shortly. So, as always, make sure to practice good hygiene – wash your hands often with soap and water, and cover your mouth and elbow when you sneeze or cough. It is essential when you’re in public. This simple step can go a long way in helping stop the spread of germs.

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