After the SARS outbreak in 2002, medical professionals around the world are on the lookout for respiratory diseases that could potentially spread. Earlier this year, health officials in the U.K. identified a new type of coronavirus that could cause coughing, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. The first patient diagnosed with the virus died from a severe respiratory infection.
Now, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are warning the public about unknown respiratory illnesses that have popped up in southeast Alabama.
Two people have already died after being admitted to hospitals with a cough, shortness of breath, and a fever. Five others exhibited the same symptoms but survived.
The ADPH has stated that laboratory samples have been taken from all of the patients, which the ADPH's Bureau of Clinical Laboratories and the CDC's Respiratory Laboratory are now testing.
The ADPH is now recommending that hospitals use respiratory precautions such as masks when dealing with respiratory patients. It is also recommended that people experiencing respiratory symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, and fever seek out medical care for evaluation.