Airport officials: Threat to Hawaii from new deadly virus in China is ‘low’

Airport officials in Hawaii discuss 'low' threat of deadly virus carried from China

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu’s airport isn’t one of three U.S. airports instituting special screening for passengers from central China for a new deadly virus.

But officials said Friday that there is increased vigilance of the potential threat.

“It’s considered a low level of alert, but it’s still something to watch,” said Dr. Jim Ireland, Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Station medical director at Honolulu airport.

[Read more: US to screen airline passengers from central China for new illness]

Ireland added that the airport has procedures already in place to ensure travelers with potentially infectious illnesses are handled appropriately.

“It’s something that we train for," he said.

On Friday, the CDC announced that three airports will establish screening procedures for the new virus ― New York City’s Kennedy airport along with the Los Angeles and San Francisco airports.

Most of the patients who have fallen ill come from Wuhan, China. Honolulu doesn’t get any direct flights from Wuhan, but does have direct flights from elsewhere in the country.

CDC officials say the new virus has sickened dozens over the last month and been tied to two deaths.

“Most of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China, have reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread,” the CDC said, in an advisory.

“Some patients in the outbreak reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, suggesting that some limited person-to-person spread may be occurring.”

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