Tuesday, 26 October, 2021


Chinese authority says pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan may be new coronavirus

A health worker stands by ready for temperature screening of travellers Chinese authority says pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan may be new coronavirus
Patty Aguilar | 09 January, 2020, 17:15

A mystery new virus has been identified as the cause of a cluster of almost 60 pneumonia cases in China which have put health authorities around the world on high alert.

The coronavirus can cause anything from the common cold to much more severe diseases.

The CCTV report did not provide details on the type of coronavirus that has been discovered - for instance if it is one of several SARS-like viruses that have been found in bats in China.

In the Wuhan case, the Chinese may be dealing with a virus that is not as lethal as Sars, which killed nearly 800 people about 17 years ago, or is in early stages of discovery before deaths have occurred, he said.

Korea on Wednesday reported a suspected case of a mysterious pneumonia-like illness that has been spreading in China, the public health and safety agency said.

It initially sparked fears of a resurgence of highly contagious Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome, and prompted authorities in Hong Kong - badly hit by SARS in 2002-2003 - to take precautions, including stepping up the disinfection of trains and aeroplanes, and checks of passengers.

Such diseases are often reported very late, after severe cases emerge, Dr Wilson said.

Chinese researchers made their preliminary determination by using an isolate from one positive patient sample to conduct gene sequencing of the virus, according to a statement from Gauden Galea, a World Health Organization representative to China.

Wuhan's health commission said on Sunday seven of the 59 patients were seriously ill but none had died. Meanwhile, Taiwan authorities said Wednesday that they were quarantining a patient who fell ill with flu symptoms on January 6, more than two weeks after the individual returned from a trip to Wuhan.

As of Sunday, local authorities reported 59 patients with the illness.

Eight patients have recovered and were discharged from hospital on Wednesday, according to Xinhua.

The commission said the infection broke out between December 12 and 29, with some of the patients employed at a seafood market in the city that has since been closed for disinfection. About 2,500 lab-confirmed cases have been reported, including more than 800 deaths, with cases continuing to be seen in recent years.

Earlier statements from the Wuhan Municipal Health Authority said there has been no person-to-person spread, but disease experts challenged that claim, saying it is impossible to rule out at this stage in the exploration of a new disease. The CDC also issued a low-level travel alert advising travelers to China's Wuhan area to "avoid living or dead animals, animal markets, and contact with sick people".

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