Deadly Virus Spreading in China Has Hit Washington State

Deadly Virus Spreading in China Has Hit Washington State


photo credit: hxdbzxy // Shutterstock

There is a deadly virus spreading around China that has been the cause of 6 death and almost 300 illnesses since December.

Due the spread of the virus, Lunar New Years celebrations have been cancelled, tour agencies are banning the travel of groups out of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected, and more screening areas are being added to the public. This coronavirus does not respond to vaccines and can lead to pneumonia. The virus has sickened people in China, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

The first case of the virus has made its way to the U.S., affecting a man in Washington state. The man returned home to the states last week before health officials began screening travelers from Wuhan. Shortly after his arrival, he fell ill. He was confirmed to have the virus on Monday.

Screenings are currently being done in international airports in Atlanta, Chicago, L.A., and New York.

Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, said the risk to the general American population from the virus is low, but older adults with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk. She said federal officials are prepared to respond quickly.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to much more serious diseases, which can infect both humans and animals, according to WHO. The strain spreading in China is related to two other coronaviruses that have caused major outbreaks in recent years: Middle East respiratory syndrome, also known as MERS, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.

“Since this is a respiratory virus, it is spread easier than Ebola so it brings with it more fear of easily being transmitted between people,” said Matthew Frieman, a virologist and associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who studies coronaviruses.

The World Health Organization is meeting Wednesday to decide whether to declare the outbreak a public health emergency.

Written by Clarke Jones

Source: Washington Post