The Centers for Disease Control announced Tuesday that a man who recently traveled between Wuhan, China and his home in Snohomish County, Washington has been diagnosed with the new strain of novel coronavirus called 2019-nCoV that has sickened hundreds in Asia and killed at least four people.
The man, who was not identified, is in his 30s and was diagnosed with 2019-nCoV after he was hospitalized for pneumonia last week, according to a CDC briefing Tuesday. The patient, currently in good condition, had returned to Seattle-Tacoma airport from Wuhan on January 15. The central Chinese city of Wuhan is where the epidemic began in December.
Last week, the CDC announced its staff would conduct screenings at John F. Kennedy Airport, Los Angeles International and San Francisco International airports of passengers on flights arriving from Wuhan. On Tuesday the CDC will also start screening passengers flying directly or indirectly from Wuhan to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Chicago O’Hare Airport.
Health officials said Tuesday it appears the virus can be transmitted through a “limited person-to-person spread.” At the outset of the epidemic, it was unclear if the virus was only transmittable from animals to humans because some of the original patients had contact with a seafood market in Wuhan.
The patient in Washington State told doctors he did not visit any markets in Wuhan and had not come in contact with other sick people.
Symptoms include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, according to the World Health Organization, which cautions there are still many unknown variables:
In addition, info about newly reported #nCoV2019 infections suggests there may now be sustained human-to-human transmission. But more information and analysis are needed on this new virus to understand the full extent of human-to-human transmission and other important details.
— World Health Organization Western Pacific (@WHOWPRO) January 21, 2020
Nearly 300 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Chinese cities — aside from Wuhan, cases have appeared in Shanghai, Guangdong, and Beijing. Other cases have appeared in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. Four people have died from the coronavirus, according to the WHO.
The Washington State patient is being treated at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett.
The World Health Organization is holding an emergency meeting Wednesday on whether the 2019-nCoV strain is a global public health emergency, and the CDC said it’s activated the Emergency Operations Center.