China has been struck by a mystery virus that’s been affecting dozens of people. The unknown virus has also found its way into two other Asian countries- Thailand and Japan. This pneumonia-based virus is yet to be identified as a contagious one. However, the people in these countries who’ve been diagnosed with the same are reported to have visit Wuhan prior to getting hospitalized.
Officials reported that the second Chinese victim is in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. So far, at least 50 people have been affected and according to the initial assessments, it’s perhaps a new strand of the coronavirus. Reports also suggest that the outbreak may have started from Wuhan.
The first person to die from this virus was a 69-year old man, who gave in to multiple organ failures. His symptoms worsened steadily after he got diagnosed with what seemed like symptoms like that of pneumonia’s.
This virus seems to come form the same family as the deadly SARS pathogen. Because of it’s affiliation with SARS, the virus has caused serious alarm and tension in the country. After all, SARS killed 299 people in Honk Kong and 349 in mainland China in 2002-2003.
So far 41 people have been infected, of which 12 have recovered while the remaining 5 were in critical condition. The second person to get infected is a 74-year old woman. Thailand’s Public Health Ministry said that she’s been quarantined since she returned to Thailand.
After the first incident of a 61-year old man dying fr in Wuhan where the mystery virus outbreak is thought to have started, no human-to-human transmission has been observed. However, the health officials still say that the possibility can’t be totally excluded.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) doctor,
“Some limited human-to-human transmission, especially among families who have close contact with one another.”
This suspicion can be based on the observation that a man who was diagnosed with this illness worked at Wuhan Seafood Wholesale Market and later, his wife was also diagnosed with the same even though she hadn’t had any exposure at the same facility.
Similarly the patients infected in Thailand and Japan also hadn’t visited the places where the outbreak is thought to have started. Officials say that the man who first got the illness may have been in contact with one of the people in Wuhan who got infected later.
The Coronaviruses family is a large one, that can cause many infections, common cold and SARS included. The disease depends on the virus type – for example, some will only cause less serious damage while the virus type that cause MERS are much more serious.
When SARS originated in southern China in 2002, around 8000 people died in 37 countries.Nearly 800 people gave in to the disease, before the virus could be controlled.
This time, the mystery virus has come about at a time just before the Lunar New Year holidays. This is a time when many of the 1.4 billion people in China will be travelling to home towns or abroad, thus increasing the risk of transmission.