(Update) The first person-to-person case of Wuhan coronavirus has been confirmed in Chicago. This makes the sixth person in the United States confirmed to have Wuhan coronavirus. Although claims are risks remain low, the World Health Organization just today has declared Wuhan coronavirus a global emergency. WHO officials now say the virus is a risk beyond the borders of China. It was only a week ago that WHO officials decided to hold off on making such a declaration.
(Original) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday that airports n New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles would be screening passengers originating from Wuhan, China or show signs of a new strain of Coronavirus. Wuhan began experiencing an outbreak of the virus in December. To check the temperatures of passengers using Wuhan airports, train stations, and bus terminals infrared thermometers have been installed.
Since the outbreak was detected last month the virus has been linked to a Wuhan seafood and wildlife market which was ordered to cease doing business on January 1. Initially, authorities in China claimed the virus could only be passed from animals to humans. Head of China’s National Health Commission, Zhong Manshan confirmed they have found two cases of the virus had been spread from person-to-person. Speaking on Chinese state-run CCTV, Zhong said “The current cases show there is definitely human-to-human transmission”. The change in theory comes after two infected persons were found living hundreds of miles from Wuhan.
The fear now is being able to contain the outbreak amid this weeks Lunar New Year which is a heavy inbound and outbound travel period for China. Currently, 4 cases outside of China have been linked to Wuhan including one in South Korea. On Sunday, in South Korea a 35-year-old Chinese woman arrived at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport originating from Wuhan, was detected by temperature screening as having a fever. The woman and 5 others had planned to vacation in South Korea and Japan. She admitted to experiencing a fever and muscle aches on Saturday at which time a doctor prescribed cold medicine. An estimated 7 million Chinese traveled overseas last year during the Lunar New Year season. Concerning countries in Asia and other destinations for Chinese travelers.
The pathogen that caused the outbreak was identified by Chinese scientists on January 8, as a new strain of Coronavirus. They also said the new strain is in the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) family. According to the Imperial College London, reported infections in Wuhan have been “grossly underestimated”. Imperial College suggests that 1 in 574 persons infected in Wuhan “would travel overseas before they sought medical care”. Implying over 1,700 cases in Wuhan may be the true number of cases. So far the outbreak has spread to Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzen. Outside of China, Thailand has reported two cases, one each in Japan and South Korea bringing the known global total to 222 cases. Wuhan is the largest city in central China.