DFW AIRPORT (CBSDFW.COM) – The CDC has confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the U.S. and announced added screenings for the illness at airports in Chicago and Atlanta.
At least six people in China have died from the virus, and nearly 300 people have been infected.
Right now, the CDC has not ordered any screenings for passengers at DFW Airport.
“We just saw that in Customs they had a sign that said if you’ve been traveling to Wuhan, China to let your doctor know if you developed any fever or cough,” said Josh Martek, who flew into DFW Airport from Cancun, Mexico.
Martek said he wasn’t concerned about the virus, but it was on his radar as he traveled.
According to the CDC, a U.S. resident traveling from China has been diagnosed in Seattle with the pneumonia-like illness.
Airports in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles started screening some passengers for the virus on Friday.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” said Michael Bigbee, who flies frequently. “The screening’s painless. It’s really quick. It doesn’t slow people down much at all.”
DFW Airport said it is prepared to support the CDC and Tarrant County Public Health Department if screening becomes necessary.
Bigbee wouldn’t be surprised if that happened soon.
“As it spreads within China, and we have direct flights here, it will become a concern for DFW Airport,” he said.
Dr. Peter Hotez, the co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, believes we could eventually see some cases of the coronavirus in Texas.
“We’re concerned,” Dr. Hotez said. “We’re cautious, but we’re certainly not panicking at this point.”
He says the real threat to the health of Americans right now is the flu and encourages everyone to get their shot and take precautions. The coronavirus outbreak is happening at the peak of flu season.
“If you’re going through major airports, you want to wash your hands frequently,” said Dr. Hotez.
The CDC has activated its emergency operations centers to provide ongoing support for the coronavirus response.