China infection episode associated with single fish showcase not spreading somewhere else

Laverne Higgins
January 13, 2020

The woman, who was quarantined on Wednesday, had received treatment and was well enough to return home, the ministry said.

The patient has since recovered and is well enough to be repatriated.

Hong Kong and countries in Southeast Asia, for example, have been isolating people who develop respiratory infections and who have traveled to Wuhan until they can be tested for influenza, rhinoviruses, and other viruses that cause colds and flu - a major investment of resources, particularly during flu season. "We are also calling hospitals to report to us if they happen to encounter such patient", Miravite said.

"I'd like to ask the public not to be alarmed", Anutin Charnvirakul, Thailand's deputy premier and health minister, said in the statement. "We're confident that we can control the situation".

Forty-one people with pneumonia-like symptoms have so far been diagnosed with the new virus in Wuhan, with one of the victims dying on Thursday, the central Chinese city's health commission said on its website on Saturday.

Multiple people without safety equipment were seen exiting and entering the market, however, while some guards appeared more concerned about the spread of unflattering images than contagion.

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The rest were in stable condition, among which two have been discharged from the hospital, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The patient who died was identified as a 61-year-old man who had been hospitalized after suffering shortness of breath and severe pneumonia. The fish market in Wuhan - an important transport hub at home and overseas - has since closed and no cases have been reported in China or internationally. But the investigations rule out the presence of any of these respiratory pathogens. The market was closed on January 1st and no clear evidence of a person-to-person transmission. The researchers described the infectious agent as a "coronavirus", identified in a hospitalised person with pneumonia in Wuhan.

He said though bat viruses span coronavirus diversity and bats are a dominant host in much of the evolutionary history, the link to bats was a distraction when looking for the source of human MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases.

Thai authorities are stepping up monitoring at airports ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday, which begins on Jan 25. Simultaneously, scientists released the genomic sequence of the unknown DNA virus.

Researchers from other cities have been invited to Wuhan to exchange information.

The cluster of the novel coronavirus was initially reported on December 31 past year.

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