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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Infectious disease specialist in Memphis area looks to ease Coronavirus concerns in U.S.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – As the Centers for Disease Control contains Coronavirus cases in the U.S., here in the Mid-South specialists are also ...

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – As the Centers for Disease Control containsCoronavirus cases in the U.S., here in the Mid-South specialists are alsosaying not to panic but that it is a time to be careful.

A local infectious disease specialist said the track record isstrong for American doctors in containing similar global health scares inrecent years, such as Ebola and the swine flu.

This, as the National Institutes of Health Tuesday began a drugstudy and prepare a Coronavirus vaccine for testing.

“Though the worst can always happen, and it behooves us toprepare for the worst, this is not new territory,” Dr. Steve Threlkeld ofBaptist Memorial Hospital said.

Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Threlkeld looked to reassure everyone,after those with the CDC warned Tuesday night of possible outbreaks anddisruptions in the U.S. tied to the Coronavirus known as COVID-19, whichoriginated in China.

“With international travel, we always have to assume thatthese kind of things can get here. We just have to make the steps to have aslittle of impact as we possibly can,” Dr. Threlkeld said.

Dr. Threlkeld said those prevention measures are already in placein the U.S. to contain the more the nearly 60 confirmed Coronavirus infectionsstateside from spreading.

“We have, contrary to China, one of the best epidemiologysystems ever created in the world. We know who this disease affects theworst,” Dr. Threlkeld said.

There’s also potential positives long term, as a trial drug study beganTuesday with an infected patient, and a possible Coronavirus vaccine could betested starting in April.

“You don’t want to take a vaccine, or you know, a medicinethat might be more harmful than the actual infection itself is, and we don’tknow those things yet,” Dr. Threlkeld said.

In the meantime, Dr. Threlkeld said there’s already practical,everyday things we all can do to stay safe and healthy.

“The main thing to focus on right now is still kind of handhygiene, because that prevents not just Coronavirus infection but a number ofrespiratory infections,” Dr. Threlkeld said.

He also said enhanced screening at hospitals, and of travelers toand from China, has assisted with containing the Coronavirus cases in theUnited States – and prevented any larger domestic outbreak to date.