According to local health officials, at least 27 people in the city of Wuhan (Hubei province) have been infected with a viral strain of pneumonia. Experts from the National Health Commission have been dispatched to Wuhan to investigate possible linkages of the virus with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). A prior outbreak of the SARS virus in 2003 led to the deaths of more than 700 people across mainland China and Hong Kong.
Further spread of the illness is possible over the near term.
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.