Several health officials from China are worried about a mysterious and unknown virus that has infected dozens of people.
What happened: Chinese health officials said a new mysterious strain of pneumonia has infected dozens of people in China, putting people in Asia on the lookout for a possible spread, according to CNN.
- 59 cases of the viral pneumonia have hit Wuhan, which is located in central China.
- Seven patients remain in critical condition.
- All patients have been put in quarantine.
- No deaths have happened from the sickness.
- Patients include a 2-year-old boy and a female college student, according to the South China Morning Post.
Response: Alerts have been issued in Hong Kong and Singapore, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- World Health Organization in a statement (via SCMP): “There is limited information to determine the overall risk of this reported cluster of pneumonia of unknown (cause).”
- WHO: “The reported link to a wholesale fish and live animal market could indicate a link to exposure to animals.”
Flashback: The outbreak made noise in December. China expressed worry that severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) had returned. SARS created a pandemic across Asia in the early aughts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- SARS spread to 37 countries.
- SARS infected more than 8,000 people.
- SARS killed 774 people.
- The infection was widespread from November 2002 to July 2003.
Fears: Li Gang, director of the Wuhan Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, told Changjiang Ribao, a local newspaper, that there’s no evidence the disease passes from humans to humans, according to the South China Morning Post.
- “Preliminary investigations have not shown evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus. But the work to identify the virus is still ongoing, as we are still uncertain of the source and cause of the virus.”
- Ho Pak-leung, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, told the South China Morning Post it’s likely the disease traveled from animals to humans.