The latest winter virus scare from Asia, Wuhan coronavirus, was just confirmed in its first human-to-human transmission over the weekend, and on Tuesday authorities in Washington State say they have identified the first case in the United States.
A patient hospitalized in Washington last week with pneumonia symptoms has been diagnosed with the new pathogen, and as the New York Times reports the patient had recently traveled to Wuhan, a city of 11 million in central China. The outbreak of the virus now known as Wuhan coronavirus appears to have been centered around a fish and live poultry market in the city, and scientists have yet to determine what animal carrier may have originally introduced it to the market. All known cases thus far have had some connection to the area of Wuhan.
As CNN reports, the Centers for Disease Control is expected to announce the first U.S. case at a press briefing on Tuesday.
SFO and other major airports announced late last week that they would begin screening passengers from central China for the virus, which has sickened nearly 300 people in China and killed at least six. That number is up from two deaths that were recorded as of Saturday.
The virus typically comes with a fever and respiratory symptoms, and it remains unclear how easily it can be passed from human to human. In one documented case, a single sick person appears to have infected 14 others at a medical facility — and it's yet to be determined if such spreading is typical or if that person was a "super-spreader," as the Times reports.
The World Health Organization is meeting on Wednesday to decide whether to declare an international public health emergency over the outbreak.