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Missouri Health Dept. considers ads in STL, KCI airports amid Coronavirus outbreak

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Health officials in Missouri could soon put up signs in the state's two largest airports to encourage some travelers to get tested for a deadly virus.

More than 80 have been killed and more than 2,700 have been diagnosed with a new coronavirus in China. The disease originated near the city of Wuhan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that five cases of the deadly virus have been identified in the U.S.

Click here for more information from the CDC on coronavirus testing in the U.S.

One person was checked for the disease in Missouri, according to the state's Department of Health and Senior Services, and tested negative. The person recently returned from Wuhan and was exhibiting mild symptoms.

Federal officials are screening travelers for the disease, which presents through flu-like symptoms, as they return from Wuhan at airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, and Chicago.

Dr. Randall Williams, the director of DHSS, said the department is working with Jackson County and St. Louis City officials on an educational campaign.

It would include signage, Williams said, that would encourage anyone who recently visited China to get tested for the virus.

The state would "want to identify those people who might get a connecting flight who missed screening at the other five airports," Williams said.

Patients can choose to be tested through a blood draw or a nasal swab.

"The testing is very simple. You get it back in two days, the results. And isn’t it nice to have that peace of mind," Williams said.

The new virus has spread quickly compared to the SARS virus, which also originated in China. In total, individuals in 11 countries, including the U.S. and China, have been diagnosed with the disease.

"With the SARS epidemic, there were eight cases in the United States over 9 months," Williams said. "With this novel coronavirus, we’ve seen 5 cases in about 2 weeks.

"In cases like this, we immediately hope for the best and prepare for the worst."

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Barry Mangold

Barry Mangold reports for ABC 17 News on weekday evenings and anchors weekend evening broadcasts.

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