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How to travel safely during the coronavirus outbreak

A coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, the most populous city in central China, has killed 81 people and infected more than 2,700.

The disease has spread to at least 13 other countries outside China as well: the US, France, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, and Nepal. 

At first, authorities suspected that the coronavirus — which most likely originated at a seafood market — could only spread to humans from animals. But they have since determined that humans can transmit the virus to one other. The coronavirus family is a large group of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract. Coronaviruses can lead to illnesses like the common cold, pneumonia, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which resulted in 8,000 cases and 774 deaths in China from November 2002 to July 2003.

Travelers should avoid close contact with people who are sick — particularly those with cold symptoms.

Some people who contracted the Wuhan virus reported symptoms including a fever, chills, headaches, and a sore throat. A few said they had difficulty breathing.

Travelers should try to avoid contact with people who display symptoms similar to those of pneumonia or the common cold, such as coughing or runny noses.

Travelers should wash their hands frequently with soap and water, making sure to scrub for at least 20 seconds, the CDC says. Avoid touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Heavy-duty masks, wearing gloves and carrying sanitary wipes can help reduce risks - but hand-washing really IS the best way to prevent infection, expert says

There are no vaccines to protect humans from contracting a coronavirus.

"There is no cure for this virus," Hyzler said. "If there is a vaccine, it'll take years."

Five US airports are screening passengers for the virus.

The five US airports are: New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Airports in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea, are also screening passengers for fever.

"Screening is a very imperfect tool, but it's the only tool we have to try and prevent the importation of a disease," Toner said.

If you do become ill after traveling to or within China, report your symptoms to a health authority right away.

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