China reports 17 new cases of mystery virus

China reports 17 new cases of mystery virus

China reports 17 new cases of mystery virus

They are aged between 30 and 79, and three of them were in critical condition.

Their symptoms included fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

In its first statement since the outbreak, the body promised to step up monitoring during the Lunar new year.

Some 700 miles away from Wuhan, Beijing also confirmed two cases of infection early on January 20, and Guangdong Province in southern China confirmed one case.

The virus - a new strain of coronavirus that humans can contract - has caused alarm because of its connection to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed almost 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

Major airports across the country are on high alert screening some passengers for symptoms of a deadly new virus.

"They all have Wuhan pneumonia cases but (in China) we don't have any infections outside of Wuhan - is that scientific?"

The UK'S Medical Research Council (MRC) has said that there could be as many as 1,700 cases in Wuhan city, and expressed concern about the 19 million people served by Wuhan airport that could facilitate the spread of the virus.

Some experts have suggested that there are most likely far more cases of the illness than the authorities have disclosed.

CDC officials say people shouldn't freak out and that more common illnesses such as the flu are much bigger threats to Americans than this new virus from China.

Of the 17 new patients, three are seriously ill, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said.

Chinese authorities says the outbreak is strongly linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, but some patients diagnosed with the new coronavirus deny exposure to this market.

Two people have died so far from the virus, including a 69-year-old man who died on Wednesday, with the disease causing pulmonary tuberculosis and damage to multiple organ functions.

"Entry screening alone is not a guarantee against the possible importation of this new virus but is an important public health tool during periods of uncertainty and part of a multilayered government response strategy", said the statement.

Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, said the new developments in the outbreak fit with a recent prediction from Imperial College London that Wuhan probably has many more cases than previously reported and that sustained transmission shouldn't be ruled out.

Shenzhen is China's fourth-largest city, with a population of about 12.5 million and is about 550 air miles from Wuhan.

The WHO's China office said the analysis was helpful and would help officials plan the response to the outbreak. "This is one of the issues that World Health Organization is monitoring closely", it said.

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