Corona Virus, Wuhan China, the World

The recent outbreak of Corona Virus Respiratory Disease, spreading from Wuhan, China is causing understandable alarm and a number of our families have called with questions about the risk here.

How dangerous is Corona Virus infection?
We don’t really know. The Chinese have reported a fatality rate of 1%-3%. Almost all were older men, who had other health problems. No childhood deaths have been reported. Though the death rate is high, many infections are mild or even asymptomatic and may not have been detected and counted in the totals.

How much risk is there of exposure in the US?
Very small. The known cases in the US, have each recently traveled to Wuhan and became ill upon their return home. No secondary cases have been reported here, as of Jan 27.

Can I travel to China safely?
The CDC has issued a Level 3 Alert for travel to Hubei, ie: no non-essential travel is recommended. Usual precautions, ie: hand washing and avoidance of contact with ill persons or animals is recommended elsewhere in China.

Are people returning from China infected, do they need to be isolated?
They do not need isolation if they are well.
Travelers from China, especially Hubei province, should immediately report fever and respiratory symptoms that occur within two weeks of arrival here. 

How long after exposure might one get ill?
It appears that the incubation period is about two weeks.

How is the disease diagnosed?
A nasal swab, like that used to diagnose Flu, Whooping Cough and other respiratory diseases is used. Suspected cases are sent to the CDC for confirmation

Is there a vaccine for Corona Virus?
No vaccine exists for Corona Virus

Is there any treatment for Corona Virus?
There is no specific medication for this virus; treatment is exclusively supportive, until recovery occurs.

How can I avoid getting ill, do I have to stay home and avoid crowds?
As with Flu prevention: avoid contact with ill people; wash your hands upon returning home and before eating; don’t touch your face with unwashed hands; get adequate rest and nourishment. Common, surgical masks have only a small effect on the spread of respiratory viruses

What if I do get ill?
If you have fever and respiratory disease, contact your doctor, an Urgent Care Center (UCC), or Emergency Room(ER), as you would do normally.
If you are ill and have travelled to an affected area, or have been in contact with a person with possible Corona Virus infection, be sure to call ahead and explain that to the Doctor, UCC or ER, before appearing at their site.

What else should I worry about?
Each year an average of 30,000 people die of Influenza in the US and about 200 of them are healthy children. Please make sure that everyone in your family has gotten their Flu shot as soon as possible. We will immunize the whole family, at one visit, if you wish.

Where can i get the latest updates on the spread of Corona Virus?
The CDC.gov website has several links to pages with the most recent Corona Virus information, including advice for travellers.   Local information can be found at the San Francisco Public Health department website at sfcdcp.org.


Flu season is rapidly approaching and all children, 6 months or older, should receive a Flu vaccine as soon as possible. Doing so greatly reduces the risk of pneumonia in the upcoming winter.

As in the past, you can schedule a shot-only appointment during regular office hours or receive it during an already scheduled Well Child visit or office visit. Parents are welcome to receive their flu vaccines at the same time as their children.

More conveniently, you may make your appointment at one of our Saturday Flu Shot Clinics:

Saturday 10/5/19 and 10/19/19
10AM - 2:00PM
Location: 45 Castro Street #232

(Others to be scheduled as need dictates)

Updates on the Office:

  1. Moving: Our Sacramento Street office will move to 2100 Webster Street, Suite #427, most likely in April 2019. If you have a future appointment at Sacramento Street we will notify you, once our move occurs. Our telephone numbers are the same and the Castro Street location is not affected.

  2. PORTAL: Communication through a secure, encrypted, password protected e-mail, is part of the Follow My Health Patient Portal. We use this e-mail to relay important health news or announcements, to answer non-urgent questions, and to report test results. You can use it to download your child’s immunizations, growth measurements, problem list, medications & allergies. Please contact us to enroll in the PORTAL as soon as possible if you have not done so.
  3. Telephone/On-line Medical Services: Telephone and e-mail (Portal) communications with the doctor are efficient ways for us to help you, without a visit. However, the time devoted to these remote interactions for diagnosis, professional advice and treatment has greatly increased. Therefore, we will institute a fee for telephone and on-line services on May 1, 2019. The fee will start from $25, depending the complexity of the visit. Communication to follow up a recent visit, or that leads directly to a visit will not require a fee.


Updates on the Physicians:

  1. New doctor: We now have five board certified pediatricians, any one of whom you may designate as your child’s primary care doctor. Dr. Jean Lee, a native Californian who is fluent in Mandarin, has joined our practice. Dr. Lee trained in Pediatrics at UCSF and has worked as a hospitalist at CPMC and at UCSF, but her passion is for primary care.

  2. Pediatric leadership: Dr. Fukuda is a leader in the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in California and nation-wide. She is the AAP’s liaison to the Japan Pediatric Society and was just elected Chair of the California region, the AAP’s largest. We know she will do a great job in advocating for children and helping to set policy. Please join us in congratulating her.

  3. Physician leave: Dr. Kelly will take a three-month leave for surgery, beginning in mid-March. As always, each of the doctors is available to see any patient, we all work closely together, and we will do our best to maintain a flexible and available appointment schedule.


Health Alert:

Measles outbreaks: Measles is now epidemic in many countries, including Japan, France and Italy. At least 5 of our own patients have had exposures while traveling abroad in the last six months.

If you are planning any travel outside of the Americas, with a child over 6 months of age, please call us, or check the PORTAL to be sure that her/his Measles immunization is current. (For children under 12 months that means at least one dose. For children 13 months or more, that means two doses.)