Wed, Jan 15, 2020 - Page 2 News List

Human transmission not ruled out in Wuhan virus

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei gives an update on the pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, at a news conference at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times

Thai authorities on Monday confirmed that a visitor from Wuhan, China, has been infected with a new coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that the possibility of human-to-human transmission cannot yet be ruled out.

Chinese health officials in the middle of last month reported a pneumonia outbreak linked to Huanan Seafood City market in Wuhan. The WHO on Monday named the virus novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV).

The visitor is a 61-year-old woman, who was found to have a fever upon her arrival in Thailand on Wednesday last week and quarantined, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said, adding that test results on Sunday showed that she was infected with 2019-nCoV.

Her respiratory symptoms and fever have since improved, and she is likely to be discharged from hospital in a few days, he said.

Sixteen airline passengers who had come into direct contact with the woman showed negative results when screened for 2019-nCoV, he added.

The woman had not visited the seafood market, which Wuhan officials closed on Jan. 1, but she had been to other markets, so the possibility of human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out, Chuang said, adding that she also might have been infected by animals.

As of Sunday, Wuhan authorities had reported 41 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV infection, six of whom were in a critical condition, and one death, he said, adding that there is no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.

CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) on Monday said that the WHO did not name the virus after Wuhan or China, as previous practices of naming diseases after places, such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, were protested by the affected countries.

Seasonal flu, pneumonia and respiratory disease cases usually peak in the winter, the CDC said, urging people who plan to visit Wuhan or nearby areas to wash their hands frequently with soap, wear a surgical mask when visiting livestock markets or crowded public spaces, and avoid direct contact with wild animals.

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