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AHS asking doctors to watch for coronavirus symptoms, though risk in Alberta is low
EDMONTON -- Health care workers in Alberta have been advised to look out for signs of novel coronavirus, even though it's unlikely the potentially fatal respiratory illness poses a risk in the province.
Alberta Health Services says the advisory was shared with doctors as a precautionary measure in light of the sudden viral outbreak in Wuhan, China.
"Infection with this pathogen should be considered in cases of acute respiratory illness without a clear etiology in patients who have traveled in the prior 14 days to Wuhan," the bulletin reads.
AHS stressed that the risk to Albertans is low.
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Any health workers who come across patients who may exhibit symptoms of novel coronavirus and have travelled to Wuhan within 14 days are being asked to immediately contact a medical officer of health.
The advisory recaps the history of the illness, which began to be reported in Wuhan on New Year's Eve.
Since then, more than 200 people have been infected and six people have died from the illness in China, prompting airports from Bangkok to New York City to begin screening passengers.
Edmonton International Airport is not one of those airports as it has no direct flights to affected areas, EIA officials confirmed Tuesday.
Airports in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are displaying messages asking passengers from Wuhan who experience symptoms to notify a border services agent.
No cases of infection have been reported in Canada, but health officials in the U.S. confirmed the first case of the illness in that country Tuesday.
A Washington State man in his 30s who had recently travelled to central China was diagnosed with novel coronavirus, officials said.
Coronaviruses vary in symptoms from coughing and sneezing to shortness of breath, body aches and chills.
The source of the new coronavirus has not been found but scientists confirm it can be passed from one person to another after healthcare workers in China tested positive.
It's unclear how easily the virus can spread from person to person.
The World Health Organization has scheduled an emergency committee meeting on novel coronavirus for Wednesday, where they'll decide on whether it should be considered a global health emergency.