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Virus of the Week

Although the focus this time of year should be on RSV or Influenza, Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has burst on the scene. Here are some of the facts:

· Coronavirus is not a new virus. It was discovered in the mid 1960’s.

· It is name comes from its appearance on electron-microscopy

· Coronaviruses usually cause mild cough and cold symptoms

· MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) are viruses that cause more severe lower respiratory symptoms

· A good analogy for COVID-19 is a known criminal with a new disguise, because the Police (the immune system) has not recognized the disguise the criminal can victimize everyone in the world.

· Currently there are over 88,000 cases world-wide with more than 3000 deaths. There are 100 cases in the US with 9 reported deaths.

· The pediatric implications are that children have had a milder course of the disease. Parents have been advised to try and keep children out of the healthcare system if possible, stay home if the are sick and practice standard precautions. (hand washing, covering coughs)

· Handwashing, covering coughs, and practicing face hygiene (touching/rubbing one’s face nose and eyes) are all encouraged to help prevent spread of the disease

This is a fluid situation and will change daily. Parents are encouraged to get information from responsible sources. The American Academy of Pediatrics (, the Centers for Disease Control (, local( and state health departments ( are good sources.

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