Coronaviruses are spread by coughing or sneezing or by touching an infected person.
Tests carried out so far have confirmed she was not suffering from the Middle East respiratory syndrome, common influenza, parainfluenza or adenovirus. Such viruses are common in humans, but more exotic versions of bats, camels, and other animals have caused serious illnesses.
When viewed under an electron microscope, it exhibits the crown-like halo that gives coronaviruses their name, said Xu Jianguo, identified by CCTV as the leader of the preliminary assessment of the test results and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
She said the lack of fatalities didn't indicate that the virus was less deadly than SARS, just that antiviral medications have improved in the past 10 years or so. Seven were in critical condition and the rest were stable. They had no pneumonia symptoms for several days.
None of the Hong Kong patients had visited the seafood market in Wuhan where some of the mainland Chinese patients operated businesses.
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Ho Pak-leung, head of the University of Hong Kong's Centre for Infection, has warned that it is highly possible that the illness is spreading from human to human, given the sheer number of cases that have mushroomed in a short period of time.
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) under the Department of Health on Thursday received notification from China's National Health Commission (NHC) on the progress in relation to identification of the pathogen behind the cluster of pneumonia cases reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province. Chinese authorities, however, say they have found no evidence of human-to-human transmission in the Wuhan cases.
The Wuhani Municipal Health Commission said some of the infected patients are in the seafood business, which has been suspended and is under investigation. Meanwhile, Taiwan authorities said Wednesday that they were quarantining a patient who fell ill with flu symptoms January 6, more than two weeks after the individual returned from a trip to Wuhan. Unlike SARS, which spreads with relative ease, Chinese scientists say the new bug does not appear to be exceptionally contagious, one sign that another culprit is behind the upsurge in pneumonia.
A person in Wuhan of China was found infected with viral pneumonia involving such symptoms as illness and hard breathing on December 12.
The statement also pointed out that Law No. 2/2004 on the Prevention, Control and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, and Decree-Law No. 81/99/M both vest power in the Health Bureau (SSM) to take "necessary measures to prevent or eliminate factors or situations which might endanger or cause harm to the health of individuals or the community". The CDC's advice for travelers to central China includes avoiding animal markets, avoiding contact with sick people, and frequent hand washing. Since 2004, no new cases have been reported.