Coronavirus-infected Chinese tourist being treated in Thailand

Grant Boone
January 13, 2020

Local officials say many patients worked at a local seafood market, which has now been closed.

Chinese authorities used gene sequencing to identify the virus after isolating the pathogen from a patient who tested positive for the disease.

The proportion of severe cases is similar to that among common pneumonia cases, Wang said.

Currently, no case with infection of this novel coronavirus has been reported elsewhere other than Wuhan, and the Chinese government reported that there is no clear evidence that the virus passes easily from person to person.

"The emergence of the epidemic may cause panic among people, especially in areas where people are concentrated during the Spring Festival travel period", the ministry's chief engineer, Wang Yang, told reporters at a news conference Thursday. The others were in stable condition and at least two had been released from a hospital.

"It is too early to breathe a collective sigh of relief, as tempting as it may be", the International Society for Infectious Diseases' ProMED-mail programme, an internet service to identify unusual health events, said in an email Monday.

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Experts from the central Chinese National Health Commission said the outbreak in Wuhan might have begun in a seafood market. But outside experts have noted that it can be hard to exclude that at this early point in the outbreak.

So far 739 close contacts have been identified for monitoring, 419 of them medical staff.

Some coronaviruses can cause colds, while others can trigger severe respiratory diseases such as SARS and MERS, the AP reported.

He said though bat viruses span coronavirus diversity and bats are a dominant host in much of the evolutionary history, the link to bats was a distraction when looking for the source of human MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases. The post was communicated by Edward Holmes, PhD, with the University of Sydney, on behalf of a Chinese group led by Yong-Zhen Zhang, PhD, with Fudan University in Shanghai.

Also on Friday, the World Health Organization issued advice for worldwide travelers to Wuhan - essentially, avoid contact with animals and sick people and wash your hands often - and guidance for labs testing patient samples for the virus. The pandemic, which killed nearly 800 people globally, disrupted world travel and trade, and China was criticized for initially trying to cover up the extent of the situation and not sharing information with other affected countries.

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