Health officials in Wuhan (Hubei province) announced on Monday, January 20, that 136 new cases of the unidentified strain of coronavirus have been detected in the city. As of January 20, 198 people have been infected by the virus and three associated fatalities have also been confirmed.
Two cases have also been reported in the capital Beijing, and one in the southern city of Shenzhen.
Fever screenings were implemented at at Wuhan International Airport (WHU) to prevent the potential spread of the 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.
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 and anticipate additional security checks at the airport. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:
- Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
- Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
- Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
- People within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people and wash hands regularly
- Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments
- People back from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease