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Global Health Officials On Edge Over Mystery Chinese Flu

Jan 7, 2019

CNN – A total of 59 cases of unknown viral pneumonia have been reported in the city of Wuhan, central China, with seven patients in critical condition, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement on Sunday. All patients are being treated in quarantine and no deaths have been reported.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), symptoms of the pneumonia are mainly fever, with a number of patients having difficulty breathing, and chest radiographs showing invasive lesions of both lungs.

The outbreak came to light in late December and prompted fears in China of a possible resurgence of SARS, an acute viral respiratory illness first reported in the country in 2002 that caused a pandemic that ripped through Asia.

SARS spread to 37 countries worldwide, infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774 from November, 2002 to July, 2003.

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The illness is brought on by a coronavirus, and symptoms include fever, cough, severe headache, dizziness and other flu-like complaints.

Amid growing disquiet, Wuhan authorities said on Sunday they had excluded the possibility of SARS, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and bird flu.

If not SARS, then what is it?

According to the Wuhan health commission, the infection broke out between December 12 and December 29, with some of the patients employed at a seafood market in the city.

Local media reported that the market — which has been closed since January 1 for disinfection — also sold other live animals, including birds, rabbits and snakes, sparking concerns that the virus might have been transmitted to humans from animals.

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Professor David Hui Shu-cheong, a respiratory expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said it is highly likely that the outbreak was caused by a “brand-new viral pneumonia … ” Read more.

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