Health officials in Wuhan (Hubei province) announced on Sunday, January 19, that 17 new cases of the unidentified strain of coronavirus have been detected in the city. At least three of the new cases were described as “severe.” As of January 19, 62 people have been infected by the virus, including eight in a severe condition and 19 who have been discharged from the hospital. At least two associated fatalities have also been confirmed.
Fever screenings were implemented at at Wuhan International Airport (WHU) to prevent the potential spread of a viral pneumonia on Wednesday, January 15, after cases linked to the outbreak in Wuhan were reported in Thailand and Japan. Individuals will be subject to temperature tests before boarding their flights and those displaying fever symptoms will be quarantined as a precaution.
Further spread of the illness is possible over the near term, particularly during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.
The first associated death with the outbreak was reported on January 9. No immediate evidence of human-to-human transmission has been reported.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Individuals in China, particularly those in Hubei province, are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate additional security checks at the airport, take hygienic measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus (frequent hand washing, face mask, avoid contact with potential carriers of the disease), and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
People developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention.