Alabama Public Health officials keeping tabs on coronavirus, more concerned about flu

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala - The CDC confirms they are investigating more than 60 possible cases of coronavirus in the U.S.  As of Friday night, only 2 American cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. Several other people are being monitored, including a student at Tennessee Tech which is just under three hours away from Huntsville.

In China, the pneumonia-like illness has killed dozens and 35 million people there are now locked-down, unable to travel

"More persons will be tested than will actually turn out to have the disease. I am aware of the person in Tennessee," said Dr. Karen Landers, a District Medical Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health.

While other infectious diseases are a higher priority for Alabama, Dr. Landers confirmed staff has been assigned to keep tabs on the global situation. That staff is also communicating with medical practices across the state to make sure people have action plans.

"The first thing we are going to do is have the person have a mask on. We are going to have the person placed in an air born isolation room. So this cannot be spread," said Dr. Landers as she explained what immediate protocols would be enacted if a person was thought to have coronavirus.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is also asking medical providers to triple check travel history.

"We are asking the physicians in the state of Alabama, the urgent cares as well as emergency rooms, to screen for a history of travel in patients that present with respiratory illnesses," said Dr. Landers.

In truth, there are actually several different types of coronavirus present in the U.S. and in Alabama. However, none in the state are linked to the outbreak in China.

The more clear and present threat is the flu.

"We should be more concerned about influenza. We should take the opportunity to be vaccinated against influenza because it's not too late to vaccinate against influenza," said Dr. Landers.

Possible symptoms for coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

For more information on coronavirus visit this CDC page. 

You can find local information on the ADPH page here. 

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