According to local health officials, at least 59 people in the city of Wuhan (Hubei province) have been infected with an unknown viral strain of pneumonia, among which 11 patients are in critical condition. No immediate evidence of human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.
Further spread of the illness is possible over the near term.
Experts from the National Health Commission have ruled out possible linkage with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers), bird flu, and adenovirus.
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 Hubei province, are advised to take the necessary measures to protect themselves from SARS and to avoid contact with potential carriers of the disease.