Health Care

China: ‘Novel coronavirus’ preliminarily identified in pneumonia outbreak

China: ‘Novel coronavirus’ preliminarily identified in pneumonia outbreak”

The spread of a previously unknown lung disease in the central Chinese metropolis of Wuhan is probably due to a new type of corona virus. However, the top health official said none had been confirmed as related to the Wuhan outbreak, adding that 21 patients had already been discharged from hospital.

South Korea's public safety and health agency on Friday asked China to provide information on the new type of coronavirus that is suspected of having caused pneumonia-like illness in recent weeks. That will eat up resources and the time of doctors, laboratories, and sick people who don't need to be isolated. "Assays developed for SARS could also be used to test these patients, especially the people who were infected earlier during the outbreak as they'd have antibody responses by now", Menachery said.

Since late a year ago, people in the central Chinese city of Wuhan have been infected with a viral pneumonia whose cause was unknown.

But more must be done before scientists can reach a definitive conclusion.

On Jan. 8, CCTV reported that eight patients were released from Jinyintan Hospital, where all patients infected with the disease were in isolation.

Daszak said he believes efforts to look for the virus in animals have not started. "I am wondering if it hits harder in elderly people or people with preexisiting conditions or comorbidities", he said.

Meanwhile, the government said in a separate statement last night that it has "sufficient" legal powers to take "any steps necessary" to prevent an outbreak of infectious diseases in the community. In Wuhan, where nearly 60 people were affected, the virus was linked to a seafood market, where wild animals, including pheasants and snakes, were also sold.

Virologist Leo Poon from Hong Kong University said that the severity of the situation will depend on whether new pneumonia can really be transmitted among humans.

The Korea Centers of Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday it has quarantined her at Seoul National University Hospital in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province while also testing a coworker who visited Wuhan on business with her from December 13 to 17, as well as medical staff at the hospital.

On Monday, the country's centre for disease control also advised residents planning to travel to or near Wuhan to wear masks and avoid contact with wild animals.

No obvious evidence of human-to-human transmission has been reported so far.

There have been at least one or two clusters of cases within families that have raised suspicions of limited person-to-person spread, a source familiar with the outbreak told STAT.

Ren said she also regarded the relatively high number of infections in Hong Kong with suspicion, given that there had been no reports of cases anywhere in between the two cities, in the southern province of Guangdong, for example. The next day Chinese authorities informed the World Health Organization that they were dealing with what looked like an outbreak caused by an unknown virus.

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