CHARLOTTE — The U.S. has its first case of a deadly and mysterious new virus that's infected hundreds in China.
The case was reported in Seattle as China desperately tries to control the virus that has spread to four other countries.
The World Health Organization will decide Wednesday if it is a global health emergency.
Meanwhile, doctors in Charlotte are monitoring the coronavirus outbreak, which has been spreading from person to person.
The cases are spreading rapidly.
There were 42 confirmed cases reported last week in China and that number has jumped to nearly 300. Six people have died, according to reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is screening passengers at three U.S. airports; San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.
The CDC is adding Chicago and Atlanta to that list but the case in Washington brings up the question; “Should the organization screen all airports?”
Doctors across the Charlotte area who watch infectious diseases said travel history is being emphasized at hospitals and clinics.
A Homeland Security spokesperson told Channel 9’s Blain Tolison that they, along with the CDC, may not be screening at every airport or at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, but they are taking precautions and preparing.
Doctors said people in Charlotte are at low risk of getting exposed to the new coronavirus.
U.S. health officials overseas are now directing passengers coming from China to a handful of major U.S. airports being screened for it.
Priscilla Wilson, of Charlotte, continues to pack face masks on her flight.
“I think we just have to take necessary precautions to try to protect our self and our loved ones once we get home,” Wilson said.
Carl Kaiser, who was in Charlotte Tuesday for business, flew home to Phoenix and has a different take on the scare.
“I haven’t heard a whole lot of outbreaks, so it doesn’t scare me too much,” Kaiser said. “I have seen a couple people wear masks, so I was kind of wondering, ‘Why?’”
Dr. Katie Passaretti, with Atrium Health, said the flu is still a bigger concern for Charlotteans, but they are taking the coronavirus seriously.
“Concerns with any new virus is that it could spread very quickly, because we don’t have natural immunity to it,” Passeretti said.
Doctors discovered the virus around a seafood market last month in Wuhan, China.
There have been 275 reported cases of coronavirus, mostly in that area of China.
The man with the virus in Washington state is in good condition.
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