China's Contagious Deadly Virus Comes to The US: American Man in His 30s is Hospitalized in Washington State After Visiting Wuhan, CDC Says

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January 21, 2020

An American man in his 30s outside Seattle, Washington who visited Wuhan, China, has been diagnosed with the coronvirus from China.

 

Via DailyMail.com:

  • The patient is a resident of Snahomish County and is currently at Providence Regional Medical Center - Everett
  • His condition is described as 'good' but he is being closely monitored 
  • All passengers coming to the US from Wuhan will now be rerouted to five airports: LAX, San Francisco, JFK, Atlanta and Chicago O'Hare  
  • Chinese officials yesterday confirmed the virus has spread between humans
  • Fifteen healthcare workers have caught the respiratory virus, figures show
  • Some 300 people in Asia have now tested positive for the unnamed virus
  • Five countries outside China have now reported cases - the US, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and South Korea
  • Three more deaths have been announced today, taking the death toll to six

An American man in Washington state has been infected with the deadly and contagious coronavirus spreading from China, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials confirmed Tuesday. 

The first US patient is a resident of the US in his 30s, located north of Seattle, who is currently hospitalized and in 'good' condition, but being closely monitored in isolation at Providence Regional Medical Center - Everett. 

He traveled from Wuhan, but did not visit any of the markets at the epicenter of the outbreak, according to state health officials.   

The man arrived in the US on January 15, the day before screening was in place, and before he developed symptoms, but the man reportedly recognized his own symptoms - which typically include cough, fever and runny nose - after seeing online coverage of the virus. 

The patient reached out to doctors on January 16, was tested on the 17th and his diagnosis was confirmed Monday, health officials said. 

On the heels of the identification of this first US patient, all flights from Wuhan into the US are being rerouted to the three airports set up last week for screening - LAX, San Francisco and JFK - as well as an additional two locations: Chicago O'Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. 

Washington officials do not consider the American man's illness severe, but are taking precautions.  

With the addition of the US, the newly-identified coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China, has now spread to five countries, including Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The first US case comes less than a week after the CDC announced that three airports - John F Kennedy International, Los Angeles, and San Francisco - would begin screening passengers arriving from Wuhan for the virus. 

So far, the CDC has screened over 1,2000 passengers, said Dr Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases during the Tuesday telebriefing. 

'However, none have been referred to hospitals or quarantined through screening,' she added. 

The first patient in the US identified with the coronavirus - which health officials are referring to as '2019-nCoV' - eventually arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, but did not fly directly there from Wuhan. 

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in close to 300 confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally. The first case in the United States was announced on January 21, 2020.

 

Once the man contacted his health provider, a newly-developed rapid test for the virus was administered and his diagnosis was quickly confirmed by the CDC. 

It remains unclear how many people the patient may have come into contact with, but officials say they are working to trace his travel and contacts.  

Officials in China have confirmed that the SARS-like coronavirus, which can trigger life-threatening respiratory infections, can and has been passed from human to human, including through saliva. 

'How easily or sustainably it's spreading remains unknown,' said Dr Messonnier. 

She added that older people with underlying conditions are at the greatest risk of developing severe illness from the virus. 

As of Tuesday, the CDC upgraded its travel alert form a level 1 to a level 2, issuing the following guidance: 

  • There is an ongoing outbreak of pneumonia first identified in Wuhan, China, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus.
  • Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.
  • Preliminary information suggests that older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease from this virus.
  • Travelers to Wuhan, China, should avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), and animal markets.
  • Travelers from Wuhan to the United States, and other countries, may be asked questions about their health and travel history upon arrival.
  • The situation is evolving. This notice will be updated as more information becomes available.

Vaccine experts at Baylor University are working on modifying a vaccine they designed to prevent SARS to protect against the new, related coronavirus, but the school's Dean of Tropical Medicine, which is developing the shot, Dr Peter Hotez, told DailyMail.com that it's likely years away from deployment.  

Last week, the CDC announced that was deploying some 100 staffers to the three airports that receive the majority of inbound flights from Wuhan in the US. 

Officials said that there would be on-site diagnostics at the airports, as well as off-site facilities set up to quarantine anyone suspected to be infected with the new coronavirus.  

Adding to the difficulty of screening for the virus, its primary symptoms - cough, fever, runny nose - are similar to those of the flu, which is at near-peak levels in the US.  

Taiwan today confirmed its first case of the lethal bug, which has killed six people in the Chinese city of Wuhan, home to 11million people.  

  • A total of 325 people have caught the virus across Asia, including 20 healthcare workers
  • Cases have risen six-fold in the space of a few days, with just 48 confirmed cases on January 17 
  • Australia and the Philippines are investigating suspected cases of the coronavirus, which causes a fever and can cause pneumonia 
  • North Korea has temporarily banned all tourists from entering the country over fears the Chinese coronavirus will spread
  • South Korean budget airline T’way Air has postponed the launch of its cheap flights to Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak
  • Experts from China's National Health Commission have urged Wuhan's 11 million residents not to leave the city
  • The World Health Organization will hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss making the outbreak a public health emergency 
  • A leading expert has said the coronavirus may have been lurking in animals for decades before adapting to infect humans
  • A renowned Chinese doctor investigating the outbreak has caught the killer SARS-like infection himself
  • Countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Malaysia have upped their screening methods to detect travellers with a fever in airports 
  • Shocking footage captured medics wearing hazmat suits screening Air China passengers for the virus before letting them leave 
  • Residents in various Chinese cities are queuing to buy face masks as vendors sell the medical products for 10 times more than normal
  • Public health officials in the UK have instructed NHS hospitals on how to deal with cases amid fears the virus will spread
  • The US National Institutes of Health is working on a vaccine against the virus – but it will be months before it can be tested on humans
  • One virologist admitted he was scared the virus will spread over the Lunar New Year holidays, with millions of Chinese residents set to travel
  • Another renowned scientist described the coronavirus as being 'one of the newest and biggest global health threats' 
  • Stock markets in China and Hong Kong dipped amid fears tourists will refrain from travelling, despite people being urged not to panic

Professor Zhong Nanshan, leader of the National Health Commission's expert team, revealed the virus is likely to be spread by saliva in a press conference today.

He told the meeting: 'As of now, it is affirmative that the new strain of coronavirus can be passed between humans. 

'The virus is spread through respiratory system and distance of impact is not long, but it is possible that the virus was passed after being stuck to saliva.'

Professor Zhong said officials must 'quarantine the patients and stop them from contacting others'. Antibiotics will not tackle the virus because the drugs only work on bacterial infections.

And he added that the outbreak will not spread like SARS, so long as patients are quarantined immediately and their contacts are traced.    

A Chinese physician who was investigating the outbreak of a mysterious new virus in central China says he has himself been infected, it was revealed this evening.

Wang Guangfa, who heads the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at Beijing's Peking University First Hospital, was part of a team of experts that earlier this month visited Wuhan.

'I was diagnosed and my condition is fine,' Wang told Kong's Cable TV on Tuesday, thanking people for their concern. He is receiving treatment in hospital.

A leading expert told MailOnline the new Chinese coronavirus may have been lurking in animals for decades.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, a renowned specialist in infectious disease epidemics, said the virus isn't new but has likely adapted to infect humans. 

The outbreak is believed to have started late last month among people connected to a seafood market in Wuhan, where all six fatalities have happened.

State media reported on a fourth victim this morning – an 89-year-old man who lived in Wuhan. Experts from the country's National Health Commission this morning urged Wuhan's residents not to leave the city.

The mayor of the city later revealed there had been two more deaths – a 66-year-old man, known only as Li, and a 48-year-old woman, known only as Yin. Both died from multiple organ failure. 

Zhou Xianwang said there has been a total of 258 cases in Wuhan. Twelve cases have been recorded elsewhere in Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital. Officials in the Chinese city have said they will pay for all medical costs for patients infected with the virus.

Other cases have been confirmed today in Tianjin – a port city just outside of Beijing, as well as in a host of other provinces.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Hubei Province announced five new cases among healthcare workers, including one doctor and four nurses. 

Taiwanese media this morning confirmed a case of the coronavirus. The unnamed woman, in her fifties, worked in Wuhan and had returned to Taiwan, CNA reports. 

And North Korea has temporarily banned all tourists from entering the country over fears the Chinese coronavirus will spread, according to reports this afternoon.

Two foreign tour operators revealed officials in the Hermit Kingdom told them borders will close tomorrow until the outbreak is 'well under control'.

A South Korean budget airline has also announced it will postpone the launch of its cheap flights to Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak.

T’way Air said the decision was 'inevitable' given the spiralling number of cases, with 325 people across Asia now confirmed to have the virus.  

Reports also state face masks are flying off the shelves across China as the country's citizens prepare themselves for the potential spread of the outbreak, which has already swept the nation.

 

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THIS OUTBREAK SO FAR? 

A total of 322 people are confirmed to have caught the unnamed coronavirus, which has never been seen before. Six patients have died.

Most of the cases have occurred in Wuhan, a city in Hubei province home to 11million people. But patients have been diagnosed across China, including in Beijing and Shanghai.

The coronavirus, which is from the same family as SARS, has also spread to South Korea, Thailand, Japan and Taiwan.

Chinese officials yesterday confirmed the virus has spread between humans, suggesting it can be passed through coughs and sneezes.

The outbreak is believed to have started late last month among people connected to a seafood market in Wuhan, which has since been shut.

China is entering its busiest travel period due to the Lunar New Year, which sees many people travelling back to their home town or village.

Virologists fear the increased travel that will happen over the holidays will cause a surge in cases.

So where have cases been recorded?

IN CHINA

Hubei province, 270 cases, 6 deaths

Guangdong province, 17 cases

Chongqing province, 5 cases 

Zhejiang province, 5 cases

Henan province, 1 case

Hunan province, 1 case

Yunnan province, 1 case 

Sichuan province, 1 case 

Shandong province, 1 case 

Shanghai, 6 cases

Beijing, 10 cases

Tianjin, 2 cases 

--- 

ABROAD

Thailand, 2 cases

South Korea, 1 case

Japan, 1 case

Taiwan, 1 case

 

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE NEW CHINESE VIRUS?

What is this virus?

The virus has been identified as a new type of coronavirus. 

Coronaviruses are a large family of pathogens, most of which cause mild respiratory infections such as the common cold. 

But coronaviruses can also be deadly. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is caused by a coronavirus and killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in the early 2000s.

Why hasn’t it been named yet?

The virus has not been named, although it commonly goes by ‘nCoV2019’, which stands for novel (new) coronavirus 2019.

When a virus emerges slowly, as this one has, scientists have to work quickly to understand its severity, how it is spread and how deadly it is.

Jeremy Farrar, a specialist in infectious disease epidemics and director of the Wellcome Trust global health charity, said he thinks the virus will be named over the coming weeks and months because it is the ‘least important decision at the moment’.

He added that it was unlikely to be named after Wuhan because it would suggest blame.

He told MailOnline: 'Ebola was named after the Ebola river in the Congo. We’ve moved on from that because people didn’t want to associate them with cities and towns for the sense of blame.' 

What symptoms does it cause?

Its symptoms are typically a fever, cough and trouble breathing, but some patients have developed pneumonia, a potentially life-threatening infection that causes inflammation of the small air sacs in the lungs.

People carrying the novel coronavirus may only have mild symptoms, such as a sore throat. They may assume they have a common cold and not seek medical attention, experts fear.

How is it detected?

When the outbreak started in December 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said hospitals across the city had treated a 'successive series of patients with unexplained pneumonia'.

After investigations, a never-before-seen strain of coronavirus was identified and reported on January 9.

The virus's genetic sequencing was released by scientists in China to the rest of the world to enable other countries to quickly diagnose potential new cases. This helps other countries respond quickly to disease outbreaks. 

To contain the virus, airports are detecting infected people with temperature checks. But as with every virus, it has an incubation period, meaning detection is not always possible because symptoms have not appeared yet.

The incubation period of nCov2019 is not known. Research by Imperial College London suggested there is a 10-day window between someone being infected and showing symptoms, based on the evidence so far. 

Can it kill?

Six people have so far died after testing positive for the virus. The first two patients who died suffered other health problems, so it is possible the virus is more lethal in vulnerable people.

The first patient, a 61-year-old-man, had abdominal tumours and chronic liver disease. The second, who was 69, had severe cardiomyopathy – a heart condition, abnormal kidney function, and seriously damaged organs. 

How is it spread?

Investigations have focused on animals as the source because the majority of the first infected patients in Wuhan were traced to the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market.

On January 14, the World Health Organization said there is some 'limited' human-to-human transmission of the virus.

Professor Zhong Nanshan, a renowned scientist at China’s National Health Commission, said human-to-human transmission is 'affirmative', in a press conference on January 20.

Two patients in southern China caught the virus from infected family members, according to local media. They had not visited Wuhan.

Why has a seafood market been closed?

Authorities also closed Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan city since January 1 because the majority of the first infected patients had worked or visited there.

'Environmental samples' taken from the market tested positive for the virus, Wuhan health authorities said.

The first patient diagnosed with the novel strain, who was also the first death, was a regular customer at the seafood market on Wuhan's outskirts.

What are countries doing to prevent the spread?

China has rapidly strengthened its capacity to prepare for and respond to public health threats, Dr Takeshi Kasai, the WHO’s regional director for the Western Pacific wrote in an Nikkei Asian Review article. 

Countries in Asia that have stepped up airport surveillance include Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines.

Australia and the US are also screening patients for a high temperature, but the UK is not yet. 

Is it similar to anything we’ve ever seen before?

Memories remain strong of the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The 2002-2003 SARS epidemic started in southern China and killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere. But no cases have been recorded in the world since 2004.

Scientists first thought that only animals transmitted SARS to humans. But it soon became apparent that SARS could spread between humans – much like the new coronavirus.

The WHO criticised China for under-reporting the number of cases following the outbreak, which infected four people in the UK.

Similarly, it took 'a while' for scientists to spot that MERS - could be spread between people. Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (MERS) is believed to be transmitted to humans from dromedary camels, but the original host may have been bats. 

MERS killed around 35 per cent of about 2,500 people who have been infected.

 

*For more information about the current outbreak in China, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/novel-coronavirus-2019.html

 

 

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