A preliminary investigation into viral pneumonia illnesses making dozens of people in and around China sick has identified the possible cause as a new type of coronavirus, state media said Thursday.
Wong Ka-hing said the Hong Kong government had reached out to the NHC and asked whether they can give the genetic sequencing of the novel coronavirus, which can help in developing quick tests for the virus.
The outbreak is occurring in Wuhan, about 700 miles south of Beijing.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection announced that a total of 38 suspected cases related to the "severe respiratory disease associated with a novel infectious agent" had been reported since December 31.
The experts have been certain that this is a new illness and no one has gone through this kind of illness before in the world.
"I am stunned by the timeline and speed of this isolation and characterization, if it's all true", says Matthew Frieman, a coronavirus expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in remarks to STAT. Around 2500 laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported, including more than 800 deaths, with cases still being recorded in recent years. The coronavirus that causes SARS was tracked to the civet cat, a wild animal thought-about a delicacy in components of southern China, the place the epidemic started. The patient is a Chinese woman. It added that more coronaviruses are likely to be identified as surveillance improves. They can infect animals and people.
Xu said more research on the new virus is needed. Symptoms are fever and cough.
Baris said coronaviruses could jump to people directly from bats, which are eaten in China.
He also pointed that the present virus is not as transmissible as its predecessors. In May 2004, the World Health Organization declared the SARS outbreak in China again below management. Chinese authorities ordered a widespread culling of civets to help stop the outbreak.
In Wuhan, where nearly 60 people were affected, the virus was linked to a seafood market, where wild animals, including pheasants and snakes, were also sold. The market closed January 1 for cleaning and disinfection. Since, most of the patients worked at a seafood market, there may have been animal-to-human transmission.
A big question is whether the virus will spread further, Koopmans said. The Wuhan health authority also reports there is still no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
"Sorry, I. I don't know about this", the employee said.
The agency noted that human illness from known coronaviruses can range from mild to severe, with some viruses transmitting easily. In China, 349 individuals died in 2003, and one other 299 in Hong Kong.
The country's civil aviation authority and national railway said at the briefing they had not received any reports of affected patients taking flights or trains, and that they were closely watching the situation.
The outbreak comes just a few weeks before China's busiest annual travel period, when millions of people take buses, trains and planes home for the Chinese New Year.