Health officials say a person in Washington state is infected with the Wuhan coronavirus, the first confirmed case in the U.S.
The new virus was first identified in China, and at least six people have been killed while nearly 300 have been infected.
According to the Washington Department of Health, the patient is a man in his 30's from Snohomish County, who experienced symptoms after returning from a trip to China near where the outbreak began. He had been hospitalized with pneumonia last week, and the coronavirus was confirmed Monday afternoon.
Initial symptoms of the new coronavirus include fever, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.
“As our team of experts partners with infectious disease specialists locally, nationally and around the globe to learn more about the 2019 novel coronavirus, our first priority remains public safety,” said Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “We believe the risk to the public is low. And as this situation evolves, we will continue to communicate with the CDC, Snohomish County and the public.”
The first cases late last month were connected to a seafood market, and transmission was thought to be occurring from animals to humans. Authorities previously had not confirmed human-to-human transmission.
The coronavirus family includes those that cause the common cold, but some found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses like SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, and MERS, Middle East respiratory syndrome.
The CDC says a number of countries, including the United States, are actively screening incoming travelers from Wuhan and exported cases have been confirmed in Thailand, Japan and Korea.