By Associated Press - Wednesday, January 22, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico health officials on Wednesday urged doctors and other providers across the state to be proactive and vigilant as more than 500 cases of a new viral respiratory illness have been confirmed in China and elsewhere since an outbreak began last month.

State Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel said no cases have been detected in New Mexico, and cases are not expected to be directly imported into the state.

“However, our New Mexico’s medical providers need to be attentive to every patient’s travel history and symptoms,” she said.

The illness comes from a newly identified type of coronavirus, which is a family of viruses that can cause the common cold as well as more serious illnesses.

While originally thought to be spreading from animal-to-person, the New Mexico Health Department said limited person-to-person spread is happening and it’s unclear how easily this virus spreads between people.

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