What you need to know about the coronavirus and how it spreads

Dr. Todd Ellerin, chief of Infectious Diseases at South Shore Hospital, who is responsible for deciding which patients at the hospital are tested for coronavirus.
3:52 | 02/13/20

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Transcript for What you need to know about the coronavirus and how it spreads
For more contacts on the virus let's go now to an expert doctor Todd Halloran he is chief of infectious diseases and South Shore up health and Massachusetts. And is responsible for deciding which patients the hospital are tested for corona virus so first off doctor thanks so much for joining us tonight. Figure it what kind of symptoms are you looking for specifically. So with this Kobe at nineteen the symptoms are very similar to the flows are you looking for fever is a cost. Possibly shortness of breath aches very very very flu like. And we've heard a lot of different reports on how the virus is spread. Including somebody who said that you can even get it from plumbing so is that truly daunting can you give us a sense of how the virus does in fact spread. Brokers to remember. Corona viruses or something we've been dealing with for a long time there are responsible for the majority of common colts so those are the typical symptoms this of course is a novel path the John. And remember it. We think that. Person to person transmission in close contact is generally how this is spread. Now can this be spread through pipes it's still too early to say I think we have to remember it when we're. Wherever this was. There's likely other people that may have the virus that could've been a comment contact there may be other explanations so we don't know yet. But it that remains to be seen. And what exactly can you tells about the pathology of the disease in and how it first originated. Well we don't know the exact origins but corona viruses often come from certain mammals like bats and again. There may be an intermediate animal that. But was infected before it made the jump from animal to human. You know this this animal to human transmission was common for SARS. It occurred firm for mayors. Which was in the Middle East recently and that may be the case with this Corbett nineteen but again the organs are still obscure. And the CDC has screened more than 30000 passengers at the eleven airports designated to taken flights from China. So what kind of concern should international travelers have. Well I still think it's important to remember. This is still a tale of two epidemics we won going on right now and Wuhan. OK but we have one right now in the United States and that's influenza. They're over 22 million people that have been infected over 200000 hospitalizations. In over 121000 deaths. So right now. Even in international travelers if you have a flu like illness is much more likely to be run of the mill influenza that we're used to. As opposed to Covert nineteen. With that sad. This is a serious pathogens we want to make short doesn't spread around the globe we have to make short doesn't become pandemic. And in doing so we have to take basic infection control procedures. Like early identification. Isolation. And then contact tracing and perhaps quarantined when we think that's necessary and that's what we'll stop this from becoming a pandemic. And we talked okay. And the other day who actually had tested positive for the virus and she said that she's experience much worse colds. Credit so how bad is it went as it were doesn't just depend on. Somebody's come through somebody system in the how. Much of may be compromised. By. Think again the symptoms can be very bull most patients do not have severe disease for most people people it's more like a cold. Or mild flu like illness but for the for the more severe patients you can get a very severe pneumonia picture require intensive care unit. And obviously at times as can be fatal. All right doctor Todd Eller in chief of infectious diseases in South Shore hospital thanks so much for joining us tonight doctor.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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