American officials have announced the first U.S. case of coronavirus connected to the ongoing outbreak in Wuhan, China.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that it had detected a case in Washington state.
The patient, a man in his 30s, arrived in the U.S. via Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Jan. 15 after visiting the Wuhan area, officials said. After he began to experience symptoms, he reported to his medical providers on Jan. 19. Samples of his virus were tested overnight and the case was confirmed in just one day.
He is a U.S. resident of Snohomish County, Washington, officials confirmed. He is now in good condition in hospital at the Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Wash.
He’s not considered a threat to medical staff or the public, health officials said.
There are currently more than 300 cases of this coronavirus in China and elsewhere. While the outbreak originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, cases have since been reported across the country as well as in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Thailand — and now the U.S.
So far, six deaths have been reported by Chinese authorities. Symptoms include fever and in some cases, difficulty breathing.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause mild illnesses like colds, as well as more severe illnesses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Several Canadian airports are reminding passengers who have flu-like symptoms to report themselves to border officers.
Late last week, U.S. health officials began screening passengers from Wuhan at three U.S. airports — New York City’s Kennedy airport and the Los Angeles and San Francisco airports. On Tuesday, the CDC announced it will add Chicago’s O’Hare airport and Atlanta’s airport to the mix later this week.
What’s more, officials will begin forcing all passengers that originate in Wuhan to go to one of those five airports if they wish to enter the U.S.
The CDC noted that it expects to see more cases of the virus, in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said that a CDC team has been deployed to the area, and the agency is monitoring the patient’s close contacts for signs of illness.
Preliminary information suggests older adults with underlying health conditions might be at increased risk from the disease, she said. Most deaths were in individuals age 60 and older.
— with files from Reuters, the Associated Press and the Canadian Press