The Wuhan coronavirus has killed 17 people and infected more than 540. Here’s everything we know about the outbreak.

The Wuhan coronavirus has killed 17 people and infected more than 540. Here’s everything we know about the outbreak.

Wuhan virus, patients in hospital in China

Getty

The death toll of a coronavirus outbreak that started in China is rising. 

Of more than 570 people who’ve been infected, 17 have died. The virus, which originated in the city of Wuhan, has spread to five other countries: Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the US.

The virus’ scientific name is 2019-nCoV, and it can be passed from human to human. Authorities are fighting to stop it from spreading further as millions begin to travel for the upcoming Chinese New Year. 

The disease is part of the larger coronavirus family, which typically infect the nose, throat, or sinuses. This one has pneumonia-like symptoms. 

Here’s everything we know:

The first case of the virus was reported in Wuhan in December. The central Chinese city has a population of 11 million.

wuhan map
wuhan map

Ruobing Su/Business InsiderThis virus’ pneumonia-like symptoms include fever and difficulty breathing.

wuhan virus symptoms
wuhan virus symptoms

Samantha Lee/Business Insider

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a person could be at risk if they have:

  • Fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as coughing or difficulty breathing, after traveling to Wuhan or having close contact with someone who was ill and is now under investigation for the virus in the past two weeks.

  • Fever or symptoms of lower respiratory illness after having close contact in the past two weeks with someone who’s been confirmed to have the virus.

As of Wednesday, the virus has killed 17 people.

Wuhan China virus coronavirus disease travel screening
Wuhan China virus coronavirus disease travel screening

Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

“The people who are likely to die first will have other illnesses,” Adrian Hyzler, the chief medical officer at Healix International, which offers risk-management solutions for global travelers, told Business Insider. “But as it spreads, it’ll pick up more people like flu does.”

More than 570 people have been infected.

A vendor gives out copies of newspaper with a headlines of
A vendor gives out copies of newspaper with a headlines of

Associated PressChinese authorities launched an investigation in the first week of January, amid fears that the virus could be like SARS. That coronavirus also originated in China; it killed 774 people from November 2002 to July 2003.

Sars
Sars

AHMAD YUSNI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD YUSNI/AFP via Getty Images

Authorities later determined that this coronavirus is not SARS, though the two belong to the same family.

Many corona viruses are not very serious, and only threaten people with weakened immune systems. But a few, like SARS, are deadly.

China Virus
China Virus

STR/AFP via Getty Images

“An initial first impression is that this is significantly milder than SARS,” Eric Toner, a senior scientist at Johns Hopkins University, told Business Insider.

wuhan coronavirus compared to other major viruses chart
wuhan coronavirus compared to other major viruses chart

Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

 “On the other hand, it may be more transmissible than SARS, at least in the community setting,” Toner added.

Scientists are still learning about the virus’ incubation period — the time that passes between when a patient gets infected and when they start displaying symptoms. That’s a period people can be contagious without realizing they’re sick.

“The information that has been coming out of China so far is incomplete,” Toner said. “There’s an awful lot we don’t yet know.”

Health officials believe the coronavirus outbreak originated in a seafood market in Wuhan.

Wuhan China seafood market virus source
Wuhan China seafood market virus source

Photo by Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

They initially said the virus could only spread from animals to humans.But on January 20, Chinese officials confirmed that the virus can be transferred from person to person as well.

“Now we can say it is certain that it is a human-to-human transmission phenomenon,” Zhong Nanshan, the scientist the Chinese government appointed to lead the effort to battle the disease, said.

Wuhan’s local disease-control authority announced on Wednesday that it would effectively quarantine the entire city by shutting down all transportation.

Health Officials in hazmat suits wait at the gate to check body temperatures of passengers arriving from the city of Wuhan Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, at the airport in Beijing, China. Nearly two decades after the disastrously-handled SARS epidemic, China’s more-open response to a new virus signals its growing confidence and a greater awareness of the pitfalls of censorship, even while the government is as authoritarian as ever. (AP Photo Emily Wang)
Health Officials in hazmat suits wait at the gate to check body temperatures of passengers arriving from the city of Wuhan Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, at the airport in Beijing, China. Nearly two decades after the disastrously-handled SARS epidemic, China’s more-open response to a new virus signals its growing confidence and a greater awareness of the pitfalls of censorship, even while the government is as authoritarian as ever. (AP Photo Emily Wang)

Emily Wang/AP

All of the city’s public transportation — including buses, metros, ferries, and train — will be temporarily shut down as of 10 a.m. local time on January 23. Trains and airplanes coming in and out of the city that have also been halted.

Wuhan’s 11 million residents have been told not to leave the city, barring special circumstances.

The virus has spread to five other countries and to many other parts of China, including Beijing, Guangdong province, Zhejiang province, Tianjin, and Shanghai.

Wuhan virus masks
Wuhan virus masks

NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images

Cases are also suspected in more regions of China.

Outside of China, one case has been recorded in the US, one South Korea, one in Japan, one in Taiwan, and four in Thailand . All of those patients were either from Wuhan or had recently visited the city.

FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2020, file photo, a health surveillance officer monitors passengers arriving at the Hong Kong International airport in Hong Kong. On Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said they will begin screening airline passengers at three U.S. airports who traveled from Wuhan in central China, for a new illness that has prompted worries about a new international outbreak. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
FILE – In this Jan. 4, 2020, file photo, a health surveillance officer monitors passengers arriving at the Hong Kong International airport in Hong Kong. On Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said they will begin screening airline passengers at three U.S. airports who traveled from Wuhan in central China, for a new illness that has prompted worries about a new international outbreak. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Associated Press

Other places, like Singapore, have reported suspected cases.

This map shows where the virus has spread around the world. The US case is not shown.

wuhan virus map v02(updated as of jan 22)
wuhan virus map v02(updated as of jan 22)

Ruobing Su/Business Insider”I think we’re going to see cases popping up in cities all over the world,” Hyzler said.

The dramatic spike in Wuhan virus reported cases
The dramatic spike in Wuhan virus reported cases

Ruobing Su/Business Insider.comHe estimated that a single person with the virus could infect 10, 20, or 30 people.

The true number infected people is probably higher than the total that Chinese authorities have identified there.

china wuhan virus
china wuhan virus

Reuters

At the point in time when China said just 45 people had been infected, academics from Imperial College London thought the true number of infected people might have been closer to 1,723.

Chinese officials have also warned that the virus is mutating, which could make it harder to control and treat.

Passengers wearing masks walk by as a quarantine officer, center, monitors a thermography during a quarantine inspection at Kansai international airport in Osaka, western Japan, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. Chinese health authorities urged people in the city of Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings after warning on Wednesday that a new viral illness infecting hundreds of people in the country. Japan, South Korea, the United States and Taiwan have all reported one case each. All of the illnesses were of people from Wuhan or who recently had traveled there. (Kota Endo/Kyodo News via AP)
Passengers wearing masks walk by as a quarantine officer, center, monitors a thermography during a quarantine inspection at Kansai international airport in Osaka, western Japan, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. Chinese health authorities urged people in the city of Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings after warning on Wednesday that a new viral illness infecting hundreds of people in the country. Japan, South Korea, the United States and Taiwan have all reported one case each. All of the illnesses were of people from Wuhan or who recently had traveled there. (Kota Endo/Kyodo News via AP)

Associated Press

Gao Fu, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Wednesday that the virus was adapting and changing — making it harder to fight.

Airports around the world are trying to stop the virus from spreading by implementing screening protocols and diverting flights from Wuhan.

Wuhan virus
Wuhan virus

Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

Five US airports — New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport — are beginning to screen passengers for the virus.

Airports in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea are also screening passengers for fever.

Chinese state media reported that transport hubs in Wuhan were supplied with infrared thermometers to try to catch people who might have been infected. But those efforts started January 14 so likely missed some sick people.

wuhan virus china travel
wuhan virus china travel

Reuters

Source: CNN.

The outbreak comes as as hundreds of millions prepare to travel for the weeks-long Chinese New Year, which is one of the largest annual human migrations in the world.

chinese lunar new year travel
chinese lunar new year travel

Aly Song/Reuters

The holiday starts this weekend, and experts worry the surge in travel could boost the virus’ spread.

“This couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Wuhan,” Hyzler said.

“Our commission will step up our guard during the Spring Festival,” China’s National Health Commission said on Sunday.

Wuhan China Virus
Wuhan China Virus

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The commission also vowed to “pay close attention to the development and change of the epidemic, and direct the implementation of prevention and control measures.”

The commission added that the virus is “still preventable and controllable.”

Wuhan China Virus
Wuhan China Virus

STR/AFP via Getty ImagesThe World Health Organization is figuring out how to respond. An announcement is expected on Thursday.

World Health Organisation
World Health Organisation

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

The organization is still deciding whether to declare the coronavirus “a public-health emergency of international concern,” as it has in the past with diseases like swine flu and Ebola.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday that keeping people alive is the “top priority” and the virus’ spread “should be resolutely contained.”

Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping

Sergei Chirikov/AP Images

Source: NDTV.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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