The first US case of the human coronavirus has been reported in Washington state, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The deadly virus, which has already killed six people in China, afflicts victims with fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia. According to the CDC and Washington state officials, the afflicted man is in his 30s and remains in good condition at the hospital.
The virus originated in China, where hundreds have been affected. Most cases occurred in the city of Wuhan, but it has also spread to other areas of the country, as well as Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and now the US. Many initial cases were linked to a seafood market in Wuhan — the market has since been closed — and Chinese health officials confirmed this week that the virus can be transmitted both by humans and animals.
According to Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital, the virus can lead to a severe form of potentially deadly pneumonia and particularly affects those with a history of chronic lung disease.
“We must be vigilant,” says Glatter, “to ensure that adequate screening processes are in place at all US airports.”
If you are traveling to Wuhan, the CDC advises that you avoid animals, animal markets, and contact with sick people. If you’re traveling from China to the US, expect to be asked questions about your health history upon arrival.
As the virus is still relatively new, there is no vaccine yet. The best remedies right now are the same as for patients with colds — plenty of rest and hydration.