Coronavirus reaches US

Coronavirus reaches US

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


SEATTLE, United States (AP) — The US yesterday reported its first case of a new and potentially deadly virus circulating in China, saying a Washington state resident who returned last week from the outbreak's epicentre was hospitalised in good condition near Seattle.

The man, identified only as a Snohomish County resident is in his 30s, was not considered a threat to medical staff or the public, health officials said.

The virus has infected about 300 people, all of whom had been in China, and killed six. The newly discovered virus can cause coughing, fever, breathing difficulty and pneumonia.

Airports in the US and other countries have stepped up monitoring, checking passengers from China for signs of illness. The US is the fifth country to report seeing the illness, following China, Thailand, Japan, and South Korea.

Late last week, US health officials began screening passengers from Wuhan in central China, where the outbreak began, at three US airports — New York City's Kennedy airport and the Los Angeles and San Francisco airports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it will add Chicago's O'Hare airport and Atlanta's airport to the mix later this week.

What's more, officials will begin forcing all passengers who originate in Wuhan to go to one of those five airports if they wish to enter the US.

Officials around the world have implemented similar airport screenings in hopes of containing the virus during the busy lunar new year travel season.

The US resident had no symptoms when he arrived at the Seattle-Tacoma airport last Wednesday, but he contacted doctors on Sunday when he started feeling ill, officials said.

Last month, doctors began seeing the new virus in people who got sick after spending time at a food market in Wuhan. More than 275 cases of the newly identified coronavirus have been confirmed in China, most of them in Wuhan, according to the World Health Organization.

The count includes six deaths — all in China, most of them age 60 or older, including at least some who had a previous medical condition.

Officials have said it probably spread from animals to people, but this week Chinese officials said they've concluded it also can spread from person to person.

Health authorities this month identified the germ behind the outbreak as a new type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold; others found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses.

SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, belongs to the coronavirus family, but Chinese state media say the illness in Wuhan is different from coronaviruses that have been identified in the past. Earlier laboratory tests ruled out SARS and MERS — Middle East respiratory syndrome — as well as influenza, bird flu, adenovirus and other common lung-infecting germs.

The new virus so far does not appear to be as deadly as SARS and MERS, but viruses can sometimes mutate to become more dangerous.

University of Washington coronavirus researcher David Veesler said the public “should not be panicking right now”.

The response has been “very efficient”, Veesler said. “In a couple of weeks China was able to identify the virus, isolate it, sequence it and share that information.”

Veesler added: “We don't have enough data to judge how severe the disease is.”

The CDC's Dr Nancy Messonnier said health officials expected to see more cases in the US and around the world in the coming days.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT