BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. (WKRG) — Former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin says we all need to be concerned about coronavirus.

Even though there have been no cases of coronavirus on the Gulf Coast, Benjamin explained how it is easily spread like the common cold.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin talks to News 5’s Rose Ann Haven on the day The World Health Organization declares an emergency in light of the Coronavirus.

“When you sneeze, the droplets go everywhere so it’s easy to catch and that’s what’s fearful and this particular coronavirus has been spreading really fast,” Benjamin said.

The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus an international health emergency Thursday as federal health officials confirmed the first person to person case of it in Chicago. A woman who traveled to China passed it on to her husband.

Dr. Benjamin said we all need to be pro-active.

“Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands because we tend to pick up things. We put our hands in our face, rub our eyes… that’s how we get it,” Benjamin said.

She also recommends getting a flu shot and explained why containing the virus is so important.

“The SARS virus, if you remember that, was very deadly. It took six months to get to 5,000 people. This virus has already 8,000 in China alone. So, it’s spreading in 30 days what took five months to do, six months to do. That’s why it’s frightening. It’s how fast it can spread. So, if we contain it early and not allow it to spread around the world is what we are trying to do,” Benjamin said.