US health officials have confirmed the first US case of coronavirus, the deadly Sars-like disease that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has since infected over 300 people, causing six deaths.
The Center for Disease Control and Protection reported on Tuesday the first confirmed case of a new coronavirus. A man in his 30s had been diagnosed with the disease after travelling from Wuhan in China to the US. The patient however was in a good condition, officials added, but had been hospitalised and isolated as a precautionary measure.
Chinese health authorities fear that the virus, that spreads from person to person and does not depend on animal transmission, could become a huge public health crisis as the lunar new year celebration later this week when millions of citizens will travel to see their families.
“We recommend outsiders not come to Wuhan and also that Wuhan residents not leave Wuhan without a special reason,” the city’s mayor Zhou Xianwang announced on state TV on Tuesday.
The Wuhan virus is characterised by pneumonia-like symptoms and is from the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. Consequentially the outbreak has revived memories of the SARS virus in 2003, which also originated from China and killed 800 people after officials initially attempted to hide the fallout of the virus.
Cases of Wuhan virus have been identified outside China, in Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. North Korea has shut its borders to tourists as a preventive measure, while Australian officials said they would check passengers that arrive from Wuhan by direct flight.
A British tourist fighting for his life in Thailand is feared to be the first Western victim of the coronavirus sweeping across China. Ash Shorley, 32, is in critical condition in a hospital in Phuket after being struck down with a lung infection while visiting Koh Phi Phi island.
The outbreak of coronavirus has been linked to a fish market at Wuhan, the capital of China’s central Hubei province. The Wuhan South China Seafood City market, which also sells chickens, bats, marmots and other animals, has been closed since 1 January. In Chinese food tradition, even roaches, rats, dogs, monkeys are not shunned