A coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China has prompted some Canadian airports to add additional checks to identify passengers who visited the city and may be sick. Now, at least one person in Washington state has been infected with the virus.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), the man is a resident of Snohomish County and had experienced symptoms after returning from a trip to the region around Wuhan, China. The man is reportedly in his 30s, and while he “poses little risk to the public,” he is currently being isolated “out of caution” and “poses little risk” to the public.
“The patient from Washington with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection returned to the United States from Wuhan on January 15, 2020,” the CDCP said. “The patient sought care at a medical facility in the state of Washington, where the patient was treated for the illness.”
Based on the patient’s travel history and symptoms, “healthcare professionals suspected this new coronavirus. A clinical specimen was collected and sent to CDC overnight, where laboratory testing yesterday confirmed the diagnosis via CDC’s Real time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) test.”
As of four days ago, travellers visiting from Wuhan, China, have had to undergo entry screening for symptoms associated with the 2019-nCoV coronavirus. The screenings began with three US airports that receive most of the travellers from Wuhan, China: San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles airports. Unfortunately, SeaTac wasn’t on the list.
In China, over 300 people have been infected and six people have died.
The new virus is in the same family as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus that spread around the world in 2003.
The Centre for Disease Control reports that Chinese officials have confirmed the new coronavirus can be transmitted between people (as opposed to just animals to humans), but it’s not clear if it’s as deadly as the SARS virus.
The World Health Organization has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, January 22 to decide whether or not the coronavirus should be declared an international public health emergency.
This is the first confirmed case of the virus in the US, initially believed to be pneumonia.