Jan. 21 (UPI) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday confirmed the United States’ first case of coronavirus in a traveler who returned from China.
The patient, a man in his 30s, was diagnosed in Seattle and was in good condition, the CDC said.
The patient was first treated for pneumonia last week, but subsequent tests showed he had coronavirus, which can cause pneumonia. He returned to Washington state from Wuhan, China, on Wednesday.
The virus, a coronavirus known as 2019-nCoV, originated in Wuhan, in central China’s Hubei province. Chinese health officials said Tuesday the disease has killed at least six people and sickened more than 300.
Health officials in Wuhan first confirmed it was treating patients suffering from pneumonia caused by an unknown virus on Dec. 31, but infrared temperature screening areas were not installed in the city’s airports and stations until Jan. 14.
The disease was soon identified as a coronavirus, similar to the one behind severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which killed hundreds of people in China in the early 2000s. The new outbreak is believed to have originated from a now-closed Wuhan seafood market.
Fears over the disease’s spread have been stoked following the World Health Organization’s revelation that human-to-human transmission is possible after officials initially said it was believed to be transferable only by animals.
In addition to announcing the first U.S. patient, the CDC said it will begin screening travelers at two more airports in the United States — Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Officials are already screening at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.
Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and trouble breathing.