The United States reports its first case of the new coronavirus originating from China, reports AP News. The U.S. adds itself among the growing list of other countries affected by its spread.
Chinese officials suspect the virus originated in a wholesale seafood market. Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province, faces quarantine as the Chinese government acts to stem the spread. Already, 17 people died from the virus, with over 500 infections reported.
The coronavirus likely spread from animals to humans initially. However, now health officials confirmed the virus spreads between human bodies, raising alarms over a potential outbreak.
The individual in Washington recently flew in from central China. Shortly after arrival, he felt sick and visited a doctor’s office. Subsequently, lab testing confirmed the presence of the coronavirus in his system.
The man then was hospitalized where he remains in healthy condition.
Health Officials Remain Vigilant
David Veesler, a researcher from the University of Washington, called the response “very efficient.” He also said the general public “should not be panicking right now.”
However, to ensure the virus remains contained, airports around the world began screening passengers arriving from the infected region of China.
Furthermore, the U.S. requires those coming into the country from effected zones to travel through airports with screeners. Presently, three cities provide screening services, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Additionally, the CDC announced Chicago and Atlanta as pending additions.
This new coronavirus differentiates itself from its more lethal cousins, like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), or bird flu.
Though, it shares some symptoms, like coughing, fever, and potentially pneumonia.
While the response has been swift and thorough, officials remain vigilant. “We don’t have enough data to judge how severe the disease is,” Veesler said.