Coronavirus: China's Deadly Virus Has Now Spread to America, CDC Confirms
American man outside Seattle, Washington has contracted the killer Chinese virus
China's highly contagious and deadly virus, that's been spreading through Asia, has now spread to the United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials have confirmed.
An American man in his 30s from Washington state has just been diagnosed with the killer coronavirus after he visited Wuhan, China.
Officials say the man, a resident of the US located north of Seattle, is hospitalized and in "good" condition.
The unnamed patient is the first detected case on US soil and is currently being closely monitored in isolation at Providence Regional Medical Center - Everett.
According to state health officials, the man traveled from Wuhan but didn't visit any of the markets at the epicenter of the outbreak.
Before he developed symptoms, the patient arrived back in the US on January 15, the day before screening was in place, but he reportedly recognized his own symptoms - which typically include fever, cough, and runny nose - after seeing news coverage of the virus spreading through Asia.
The man reached out to doctors on January 16, was tested on the 17th and his diagnosis was confirmed Monday, health officials said.
On the heels of the identification of this first US patient, all flights from Wuhan into the US are being rerouted to the three airports set up last week for screening - LAX, San Francisco, and JFK - as well as an additional two locations: Chicago O'Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Washington officials do not consider the American man's illness severe but are taking precautions.
With the addition of the US, the newly-identified coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China, has now spread to five countries, including Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
The first US case comes less than a week after the CDC announced that three airports - John F Kennedy International, Los Angeles, and San Francisco - would begin screening passengers arriving from Wuhan for the virus.
So far, the CDC has screened over 1,2000 passengers, said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases during the Tuesday telebriefing.
"However, none have been referred to hospitals or quarantined through screening," she added.
The first patient in the US identified with the coronavirus - which health officials are referring to as "2019-nCoV" - eventually arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, but did not fly there directly from Wuhan.
He did not pass through airport screening, but both CDC and Washington State officials asserted that because he arrived prior to the onset of symptoms, screening would not have identified him as a potential patient.
Once the man contacted his health provider, a newly-developed rapid test for the virus was administered and his diagnosis was quickly confirmed by the CDC.
It remains unclear how many people the patient may have come into contact with, but officials say they are working to trace his travel and contacts.
Officials in China have confirmed that the SARS-like coronavirus, which can trigger life-threatening respiratory infections, can and has been passed from human to human, including through saliva.
"How easily or sustainably it's spreading remains unknown," said Dr. Messonnier.
She added that older people with underlying conditions are at the greatest risk of developing severe illness from the virus.
As of Tuesday, the CDC upgraded its travel alert form a level 1 to a level 2, issuing the following guidance:
- There is an ongoing outbreak of pneumonia first identified in Wuhan, China, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus.
- Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.
- Preliminary information suggests that older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease from this virus.
- Travelers to Wuhan, China, should avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), and animal markets.
- Travelers from Wuhan to the United States, and other countries, may be asked questions about their health and travel history upon arrival.
- The situation is evolving. This notice will be updated as more information becomes available.
A total of 325 people have caught the virus across Asia, including 20 healthcare workers.
Three more deaths were announced Tuesday, taking the death toll to six.