A Chinese epidemiologist warned this week that the novel Wuhan coronavirus is not limited to communication between humans.
Dr. Li Lanjuan of the Chinese National Health Commission made clear that mammals are generally at risk of passing the virus.
“If pets go out and have contact with an infected person, they have the chance to get infected. By then, pets need to be isolated. In addition to people, we should be careful with other mammals especially pets,” she told China Central Television (CCTV) Wednesday.
Chinese news outlets and the World Health Organization report that pet-to-person transmission remains theoretical as of now. The WHO declared an international emergency on Thursday.
The United States is currently dealing with confirmed cases of coronavirus in Illinois, Arizona, California, and Washington state as of Friday, January 31, according to the CDC. On Friday morning, the New York Daily News reported that NYPD officers were warned to avoid Elmhurst Hospital in Queens due to a potential case. The first domestic person-to-person transmission was announced Thursday in Illinois.
Due to statements from the CDC and WHO, elements of the U.S. travel industry are taking new precautions. Delta and American Airlines announced halts to travel to China on Friday after a leading pilots union filed a lawsuit in Dallas County, Texas. The U.S. State Department issued a “do not travel” advisory for all of China on Thursday. The “level 4” advisory is the most severe and on par with nations like Syria, Afghanistan, and cartel war-torn regions of Mexico.
“Those currently in China should consider departing using commercial means. The Department of State has requested that all non-essential U.S. government personnel defer travel to China in light of the novel coronavirus,” the federal advisory states.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) asked top officials to implement a targeted “travel ban.”
“Given the latest developments and the many unknowns about this virus, we ought to follow Benjamin Franklin’s maxim: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. America is blessed with world-leading researchers and laboratories on the cutting edge of medical science and epidemiology. Working in tandem with them, I’m confident our federal research agencies can develop a vaccine in record time,” the senator wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, HSS Secretary Alex Azar, and acting Homeland Security Director Chad Wolfe.
Editor’s Note: The photo is illustrative of the topic and not a literal depiction of any individuals in this particular medical case.