SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Worldwide concerns are rising over a respiratory virus rapidly spreading in China and is now making its way to the U.S.

The CDC said it's a new strain of coronavirus, but there are still several questions when it comes to treatment and how it spreads.

Western Mass News spoke with Dr. Armando Paez, chief of infectious diseases at Baystate Medical Center, to get answers on how to spot and treat the virus.

"This is a rapidly evolving story..." Dr. Paez said.

Dr. Paez with Baystate Health told Western Mass News the coronavirus is not only rapidly evolving, but it's rapidly spreading in Asia.

Over 300 people infected by a new strain of the virus since the end of December.

Now, the first case in the U.S. was confirmed by the CDC in a man from Everett, Washington on Tuesday.

"CDC has issued an advisory-- so anyone who has fever or symptoms with lower respiratory tract infection--and in the last 14 days has been in contact with someone in Wuhan, China or has been to Wuhan, China should be a suspect for this infection," Dr. Paez noted.

And while Wuhan is the center of concern, the unpredictability of the virus has health officials worldwide concerned.

"I think it's still early to look for those answers right now, they are still trying to understand this new strain of the virus," Dr. Paez said.

Symptoms for coronavirus are similar to that of the other respiratory viruses, with a runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever.

Some cases are mild, while others are more likely to lead to pneumonia and can be deadly.

But as for how to spot the differences between the common flu and coronavirus?

D. Paez said it's all in where you've traveled.

"Unless you really test for it, there is no way to differentiate it. The clue with it is really the travel history or contact history of someone whose been to china," Dr. Paez explained.

While the virus hasn't reached western Mass yet, Dr. Paez said that if it does, they'll be ready.

"Our infection control is doing our best to keep with the information and to keep with the CDC's guidelines. The person should be isolated in the airborne contact, and in a special room until we get more info about the patient and testing results," Dr. Paez said.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.