The United States confirmed its first infection of the novel coronavirus that is racing through China and so far claimed six lives. A male patient in his 30s was diagnosed with the virus in Washington State, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The man, a US resident in his 30s who lives near Seattle in Washington state, is in good condition, according to federal and state officials, and approached authorities himself after reading about the SARS-like virus in news reports.
The patient had recently traveled to Wuhan, where a cluster of infection cases has been reported, and returned 15 January.
He is “currently hospitalised out of an abundance of precaution, and for short term monitoring, not because there was severe illness,” a Washington state health official says.
So far, the virus has spread beyond the Chinese mainland to Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Philippines and the US. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases within China grew to 319 as of 21 January although experts say the number is very likely much higher than official reports.
Top health experts are now warning of potential risks of a so-called “super-spreader” – a patient with stronger infectious power than other patients – which will pose far greater challenges for epidemic control.