A man in Washington state has been diagnosed with the life-threatening virus, Coronavirus, becoming the first case confirmed in the United States of the China bred illness that has killed at least six people since December, according to the U.S. officials.
The World Health Organization is meeting Wednesday to decide whether to declare a public health emergency since the outbreak.
The unidentified man is reportedly in his 30s and in stable condition at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington. The man arrived in the U.S. last week before federal health officials began screening travelers from the central Chinese city of Wuhan at Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York’s John F. Kennedy international airports.
The rapidly growing virus has China authorities reporting confirmed cases in multiple cities, and unfortunately, during a time where millions of Chinese residents prepare for the Lunar New Year, the biggest migration event in the world. According to The Washington Post, the infection is believed to have originated at an animal market in Wuhan and spread by people who worked or shopped there recently.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to much more serious diseases and can infect both humans and animals. The strain spreading in China is related to two other coronaviruses that have caused recent major outbreaks: Middle East respiratory syndrome, also known as MERS, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, according to the publication.
Symptoms of a coronavirus infection include respiratory problems, difficulties breathing, fever and cough, and can lead to severe cases of pneumonia, kidney failure, acute respiratory syndrome, and death. The elderly, children, and individuals with already weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of developing severe lower-respiratory tract diseases, like bronchitis and pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.