Hawaii health officials are advising residents to get flu shots to help in the detection of cases of coronavirus that has affected over 400 people in China and killed nine.
There have been no reports of the virus in Hawaii, but one case has been reported in Seattle -- the only one that has emerged thus far in the United States. The U.S. case involved a traveler from Washington state who had visited Wuhan City in central China, epicenter of the outbreak.
Airports in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are screening travelers from the Wuhan area and airports in Chicago and Atlanta will join the list later this week. What's more, officials also will begin forcing all passengers from Wuhan to go to one of those five airports if they wish to enter the U.S.
Coronovirus is a pneumonia-like illness that can cause coughing, fever and breathing problems.
“With the current flu activity, there will likely be crossover in clinical presentation so the more people vaccinated against flu, the more helpful that will be,” said Dr. Sarah Park, Hawaii state epidemiologist.
The state is asking doctors to be alert to patients who have traveled from Wuhan in Hubei Province and report any cases that meet the criteria for the virus.
The virus has reached four other Asian countries -- Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan -- and threatens to spread further during the Lunar New Year travel rush.