China's SARS-like virus spreads to U.S., heightens fears of worldwide spread

China's SARS-like virus spreads to U.S., heightens fears of worldwide spread

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on January 21, 2020, the first case of the new SARS-like virus in the United States. This raised concerns about the epidemic spreading worldwide as China also confirmed that the infection can be transmitted through human contact.

In a press release by CDC, it was reported that the patient just returned to Washington on January 15 from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak has been ongoing since December 2019.

The patient sought treatment at a medical facility in the state, and based on the patient's travel history and symptoms, healthcare professionals suspected the new coronavirus.

CDC stated that a clinical specimen was collected and sent to the institution overnight, and laboratory testing conducted on January 20 confirmed the diagnosis.

The institution noted that they have been proactively preparing for the virus in the United States.

"CDC is working closely with the state of Washington and local partners. A CDC team has been deployed to support the ongoing investigation in the state of Washington, including potentially tracing close contacts to determine if anyone else has become ill."

As of January 21, the coronavirus has killed six, infected over 300, and spread through Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, with Taiwan also confirming its first case on the same date. The rapid spread triggered fears that the 2003 SARS episode may happen again.

"This outbreak is extremely concerning," said Wellcome Trust head Jeremy Farrar, adding that the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations is "working with global partners to accelerate vaccine research for this new virus."

Featured image credit: CDC

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