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SEATTLE — Public health officials here are monitoring at least 16 people who were in close contact with a man from a nearby suburb, the nation’s first person infected with a new global respiratory virus after a trip to China.

The new, deadly coronavirus, which originated in the central city of Wuhan, has so far infected more than 540 and killed at least 17, according to Chinese authorities. Wuhan officials have halted air and train travel from the city and closed public transportation. The virus has spread to Beijing, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

There’s only one known case in the United States, the unidentified Snohomish County man in his 30s who returned from Wuhan last week and became ill.

County and federal health officials began the painstaking work of tracking the man’s travel and contacting individuals who shared flights, public transportation or otherwise came in close contact with him. Some health care workers who treated the man at a local clinic were asked to stay home and monitor for symptoms.


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