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Scientists are increasingly concerned about a new virus that has infected thousands of people and can be deadly. The virus is a coronavirus, and belongs to the same family as the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. It causes a respiratory illness, can spread from person to person, and emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.
Here’s the latest news on the outbreak.
Novel - Coronavirus - Humans - China - Time
The novel coronavirus has spread between humans outside of China, for the first time.
A German man acquired the infection from a colleague who had returned from Wuhan, according to news reports and a statement from Bavaria’s health ministry. In a 27 January update, the World Health Organization confirmed that a person in Vietnam acquired the virus from an infected family member. And media reports indicated today that a tour bus driver in Japan, who had transported tourists from Wuhan, also tested positive for the coronavirus.
Bavaria - Health - Ministry - Risk - Virus
Bavaria’s health ministry said it considered the risk of virus spreading further to be low. More cases of human-to-human spread outside of China are likely, Michael Head, an epidemiologist at the University of Southampton, UK, said in a statement distributed the UK Science Media Center. “But the indications are at this stage that onwards transmission will be limited.”
David Heymann, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, agrees that more cases of human-to-human transmission beyond China are likely. Health authorities can limit further transmission by isolating infected patients and closely following people they have had contact with.
Effectiveness - Measures - Virus - Air - Outbreak
But the effectiveness of these measures depends on the virus not being able to spread widely through the air. “You can generally keep an outbreak at very low levels unless it’s aerosolized,” Heymann says. In that case, contact-tracing and isolation are unlikely to stem spread.
Available evidence suggests that the coronavirus spreads...
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