Monday, 27 January, 2020

China pneumonia outbreak: Mystery virus probed in Wuhan

China launches probe into mysterious viral pneumonia amid rumors of SARS 2.0 China probes pneumonia outbreak amid SARS fears: state media
Anita Tucker | 04 January, 2020, 00:24

In Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority said two female patients who recently travelled to Wuhan had been admitted to hospital and were being treated in isolation for fever and respiratory infections or pneumonia symptoms.

The government emphasized that Hong Kong had not received any Wuhan-related severe pneumonia cases. "So I think people shouldn't panic but must be alert, must follow the instructions from Hong Kong's Department of Health and Hospital Authority".

David Hui Shu-cheong, a professor of respiratory medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told local media on December 31 that the critical situation of Wuhan's viral pneumonia reminded him of what Hong Kong faced with SARS in 2003.

The most common symptom was fever, with shortness of breath and lung infections appearing in a "small number" of cases, the commission said, without giving further details.

That has triggered worries about the potential jump of an unknown virus to humans - reminiscent of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or Sars, which killed nearly 800 people about 17 years ago.

News of the outbreak had led to online speculation that it might be linked to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or Sars.

Helicopter with seven on board missing off Hawaii: US Coast Guard
The FAA's Gregor said the agency is looking at the company's safety record but likely won't have a full report until December 30. The search was expanded at daybreak on Friday to include air, sea and flooring teams from the Coast Guard, U.S.

All travellers to Wuhan are advised to monitor their health closely and to seek medical attention promptly if they feel unwell, and to also inform their doctor of their travel history, said the ministry. However, a number of those infected worked at a seafood market in the city, leading authorities to clean the area. Thus far, there have been no clear indications of human-to-human transmission of the disease, the commission said. Paige Snider, senior advisor to the WHO's China office, told the paper that investigations are still underway and authorities haven't yet confirmed the pathogen that's causing the illness.

Experts from the National Health Commission have been dispatched to determine both the cause and scope of the outbreak and whether there is any truth to the rumors online that this may be the next SARS.

As the South China Morning Post reports, health officials still don't know exactly where this viral pneumonia came from, though they have ruled out multiple possibilities. "We can not confirm it is what's being spread online, that it is SARS virus".

In 2003, Chinese officials were forced to apologize after it was revealed that they had covered up an outbreak of SARS for weeks.

The virus, which infected more than 8,000 people around the world, is expected to have originated in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, according to WHO.

Chinese state media outlets have stressed that the cause of the current illnesses remains unknown, that fears of a new SARS epidemic are premature, and that the country has a robust system for dealing with epidemics.

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