Posted Jan. 22, 2020. Past health advisories and alerts are archived for historical purposes and are not maintained or updated.
Washington State Department of Health (DOH) yesterday reported a confirmed infection of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in a Snohomish County resident returning from Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China where an ongoing outbreak of 2019-nCoV is occurring. The man in his 30s is hospitalized in good condition as a precaution. His infection is not considered a threat to medical staff or the public.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) continues to closely monitor the outbreak of 2019-nCoV that began in December 2019. Since that time over 400 cases have been reported with at least 17 deaths. Today’s announcement of the Snohomish County case is the first in the United States. Other cases have been reported in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and other cities in China; all associated with Wuhan City.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses; some affect people, some affect animals, and some animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people, such as has been seen with Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. Chinese authorities report most patients in the Wuhan City outbreak have been epidemiologically linked to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting a possible zoonotic origin to the outbreak. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, suggesting person-to-person spread is occurring.
A number of countries, including the United States, are actively screening incoming travelers from Wuhan. Based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is deemed to be low at this time.