Epidemiological Alert: Novel coronavirus (nCoV) (16 January 2020)
Pan American Health Organization
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On 31 December 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission in Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China, reported a conglomerate of 27 cases of acute respiratory syndrome of unknown etiology among people linked to a wet market (of marine products) in Wuhan City (population of 19 million), capital of Hubei Province (population of 58 million), southeast of China; of which 7 were reported as severe. The clinical picture of the cases presented with fever, with some patients presenting dyspnea and pneumonic changes on the chest x-rays (infiltrative lesions of the bilateral lung). The affected market is the largest wholesale market for marine products for consumption in Wuhan, with more than 600 cages and 1,500 workers, and it was closed on 1 January 2020. On 7 January 2020, the authorities of China reported that a novel coronavirus (nCoV) was identified as a possible etiology. Other tests have ruled out severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus, and other common viral or bacterial respiratory infections. As of 12 January 2020, 41 cases with nCoV infection have been preliminarily diagnosed in Wuhan City. Of the 41 cases reported, seven are seriously ill. On that date a death was reported in a patient with other underlying health conditions. Six patients have been discharged from the hospital. The onset of symptoms of the 41 confirmed cases of nCoV ranges between 8 December 2019 and 2 January 2020. No additional cases have been detected since 3 January 2020 in this area.