A woman from Chicago who traveled to Wuhan, China, at the end of December and returned on Jan 13 represents the second travel-related case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection diagnosed in the United States, according to officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Chicago woman was not sick when she traveled but began to feel ill a few days after her return. People that the women had close contact with are being monitored.
The second case was confirmed in a patient who had recently returned to IL from a trip in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak of the coronavirus has been taking place.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the risk to the USA public remains low but that it's likely more cases will be diagnosed in the coming days, as the virus appears to have a two-week incubation period. Overall, the CDC is now investigating 63 people (including the two that tested positive) in 22 states for a possible infection with the new virus.
The number of cases of patients infected has risen to 830, while the death toll from the virus has reached 26, the National Health Commission announced.
The number of cases that have been exported - and the number of countries outside China that have reported cases - continue to grow as well.
"The criteria for declaring a public health emergency of worldwide concern have been met", said Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.
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Wuhan and other cities in Hubei have seen far more draconian measures, with curbs on public transport.
Amid the outbreak of the virus, several Chinese cities have been put on lockdown, while Beijing has made a decision to suspend all festivities for the Chinese New Year.
"It may yet become one", said the WHO's boss. At least 10 countries outside China have reported 26 cases. Officials are still unclear about how this one will spread between people.
The virus infects the lungs, and symptoms start with a fever and cough. "It may yet become one", he acknowledged. Major airports have stepped up screenings in the hope of preventing further spread of the disease.
Public health screenings for travelers from Wuhan have been implemented at five USA airports including Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX).
Dr. Martin Cetron, director for quarantine and migration at the CDC, said the agency is now reviewing the entry screening program, because China has halted flights out of Wuhan.
"The concentration of resources and efforts need to be focused on the tremendous work that our state and local partners are doing to rapidly identify cases and contacts and assure that the American health is protected", Cetron said.