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02 Mar 2020 | 04:14 PM UTC

US: COVID-19 leaves six dead in Seattle (Washington state) area as of March 2 /update 15

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak leaves six dead in Seattle (Washington state) area as of March 2; further international spread of COVID-19 to be expected over the near term

health
USA

Event

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has left six people dead in the Seattle (Washington state) area as of Monday, March 2, as the total number of cases recorded in Washington state increased to 18. According to Seattle-area health officials, eight of the 14 total cases in King county are linked to a single nursing facility in Kirkland, and four of the six deaths recorded in the state have been elderly people or those with underlying health conditions. King county officials have not yet recommended the cancelation of public events or school closures. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Monday that the total number of COVID-19 cases in the US had risen to 91 as of Sunday, March 1.

Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored 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.

Advice

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.