Deadly mystery virus spreads outside China to new countries

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The Wuhan Hygiene Emergency Response Team drives a vehicle when they leave the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, on January 11, 2020.
Photo: fake images

Health officials in Thailand and Japan have announced that a strange new virus, which killed two people and made dozens of others sick in China, appeared within its borders this week. The virus, known as 2019-nCoV, was first identified in Wuhan, China, in At the end of December and there are questions about how it spreads, according to the World Health Organization.

Officials in Thailand first identified the new virus in the country on January 13 and announced a second case today. Health officials in Japan publicly announced their first case of the mysterious disease on Thursday, noting that a man in his 30s had been diagnosed with the virus before getting well enough to be discharged from the hospital on January 15.

The disease is a coronavirus, part of a large family of viruses that can cause symptoms ranging from a common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome, more commonly known as SARS. The new 2019-nCoV has symptoms similar to pneumonia and 41 people have tested positive for the virus so far, with five people still in critical condition of “severe infections. “

Health officials believe that the new virus can only be transmitted from animals to humans and that Huanan’s wholesale seafood market in Wuhan, which sells live animals, may be the culprit. And although the transmission from person to person has not yet been confirmed, new patients in Thailand and Japan did not visit that particular market.

“Given global travel patterns, there are likely to be additional cases in other countries,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement posted online. Thursday.

The first death of 2019-nCoV was recorded on January 9 after a 61-year-old man in Wuhan contracted the disease. The second death in China was reported yesterday, identified as a 69-year-old man also in Wuhan who turned out to have severe damage to multiple organs and pulmonary tuberculosis.

In Japan, the man’s symptoms began on January 3 while traveling in Wuhan. The unidentified man returned to Japan on January 6 and was hospitalized upon returning from China, according to the New York Times. Health officials are particularly concerned about his case, as he reportedly did not visit any market with live animals, although he did have close contact with other patients with pneumonia, according to the Infectious Disease Research and Policy Center (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota.

The virus appeared in Thailand after a 61-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan visited the country, according to the Thai Ministry of Public Health. The woman did not visit the seafood market in Wuhan that has been at the center of the known diseases of 2019-nCoV, but did visit a different market that may have had live animals.

Obviously, there is much less concern about this new virus if it cannot be transmitted from person to person. While you can only travel from animal to human, there are relatively simple precautions that can be taken to keep people healthy. Huanan’s seafood market was closed and cleaned on January 1, just one day after the possible link was discovered on December 31. Since then, the market has reopened.

Passengers pass by a thermal scanner upon arrival at Narita Airport on January 17, 2020 in Narita, Japan.
Photo: fake images

Some airports such as Narita, Japan, are doing thermal passenger scans to detect anyone who has a fever. According to reports, a team from the German Infection Research Center in Berlin developed a new laboratory test for 2019-nCoV that was published yesterday by WHO.

“Now that this diagnostic test is widely available, I hope it won’t be long before we can reliably diagnose suspicious cases. This will also help scientists understand if the virus is capable of spreading from human to human, “said the professor. Christian Drosten He said in a statement posted online. “This is an important step in our fight against this new virus.”

Professor Drosten was on the team behind the Zika virus test that became the world standard.

“The fact that some cases do not appear to be linked to Huanan’s seafood market means that we cannot exclude the possibility of limited transmission from person to person,” WHO said in a tweet. earlier this week.

“We are still in the early stages of understanding this new virus, where it came from and how it affects people. There are still many unknowns, and the situation may continue to evolve. “

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