Wuhan flu caused by new virus from Sars family, says China

Katie Ramirez
January 13, 2020

The researchers used a sample from one patient to conduct gene sequencing of the virus and were able to preliminary identify a novel virus, Gauden Galea, a World Health Organization representative to China, said in a written statement.

Previously, Chinese authorities subsequently reported that laboratory tests ruled out SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus and other common respiratory pathogens.

Lead scientist Xu Jianguo said that "preliminary tests" indicated new coronavirus is the cause of the illness, which has sickened at least 59 people as of Sunday. As of Sunday, seven patients were in critical condition, while others were in stable condition.

Shortness of breath, chills and body aches are associated with more unsafe kinds of coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 2,500 lab-confirmed cases have been reported, including more than 800 deaths, with cases continuing to be seen in recent years.

The patient has been isolated and is now undergoing treatment.

According to information from the NHC, an expert group on the mainland has preliminarily determined that the pathogen of the cluster of viral pneumonia cases occurring in Wuhan is a kind of novel coronavirus.

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The 2002-2003 SARS epidemic started in southern China, infecting more than 8,000 people, and killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere.

Wuhan health officials haven't announced any new cases since Jan 5, keeping the outbreak total at 59 cases, 7 of them listed as serious.

However, he called for more detailed information to understand what caused the outbreak and how it should be managed in the coming weeks: "Further investigations are also required to determine the source, modes of transmission, extent of infection and countermeasures implemented".

Wuhan is a leading center for virology research in China, and infectious diseases experts watching this outbreak have predicted scientists there would quickly find the cause.

Experts interviewed by the South China Morning Post said that while the virus has been identified, there are still important details that need answers. Symptoms of the illness include fever and difficulty breathing.

Civil aviation and national railway authorities said they had not received any reports of affected patients taking flights or trains, and that they were closely watching the situation.

"If it can jump once, then it will jump again", he said of the virus. He expressed skepticism about Chinese authorities' claim that the virus can't be transmitted between humans, saying, "I don't know how you know that at all". He noted the number of cases reported makes it seem unlikely that animal-to-human transmission is the only way this virus spread.

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