Chinese health authorities have reported the emergence of an unidentified strain of pneumonia that has infected dozens of people since the middle of December.
According to a release by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, 59 cases of the unknown strain of viral pneumonia have been reported in Wuhan, a city located in central China, leaving seven patients in critical condition. According to Wuhan officials, all infected patients are being treated in quarantine. No deaths have been reported.
So far, officials say there has been no “clear evidence” of human-to-human transmission and that no health care workers have been infected, though at least 163 people who have had close contact with those who are infected are under close medical observation.
Wuhan officials say the infection broke out between Dec. 12 and Dec. 29. Some patients affected by the ongoing outbreak lived near a local seafood market, which has since been closed for disinfecting.
Wuhan officials said in the release that they had excluded the possibility of SARS, Middle East respiratory syndrome and bird flu as possible causes of the outbreak. Pathogen identification and cause tracing are currently underway and prevention and control work is “proceeding in an orderly manner.” They have also recommended efforts to maintain indoor air circulation and the use of masks when necessary. Finally, they encourage any individual with a fever or respiratory symptoms to seek medical care right away. – by Caitlyn Stulpin
Wuhan Municipal Health Commission. Wuhan Municipal Health and Health Committee's Report on Unexplained Viral Pneumonia. http://wjw.wuhan.gov.cn/front/web/showDetail/2020010509020. Accessed January 7, 2020.