A second case of coronavirus has been confirmed in the United States as of Friday, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention telebriefing.
This case, following the first confirmed case in Washington State, occurred in a Chicago resident who traveled to Wuhan, China, the site of an ongoing outbreak, according to the CDC.
Including the two confirmed positive cases, there are 63 patients under investigation, 11 of whom have tested negative, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in the telebriefing. These patients come from 22 states.
“While this situation poses a very serious public health threat, CDC believes that the immediate risk to the US Public is low at this time,” Messonnier said in the telebriefing, “but the situation can change to evolve rapidly.”
The Chicago resident, a woman in her mid-60s, is hospitalized and in stable condition. Her case poses a low infection risk for the public locally and nationally, Dr. Allison Awrady, Commissioner at Chicago's Department of Public Health, said in the telebriefing.
The patient had limited close contacts since returning from China, all of whom will be monitored, and had limited movement outside of her home, Awrady said. Additionally, the patient was not symptomatic while flying.
“Based on what we know about the virus our concern for transmission before symptoms develop is low so that is reassuring,” she said.
The coronavirus is part of a large family of viruses. Patients with the current strain, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, exhibit “mild to severe respiratory illness” with symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. Illness has resulted in a number of deaths in China.
The CDC recommends avoiding all non-essential travel to Wuhan, China and practicing certain health precautions when traveling to other parts of China, such as practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding contacting with people who are sick, Messonnier said in the telebriefing.
It is likely there will be more cases of the coronavirus in the United States. The CDC has an aggressive response with the goal of identifying potential cases early and ensuring patients get the best, most appropriate care, she said in the telebriefing.
While there are many unknowns, CDC believes that the immediate risk to the American public continues to be low at this time, she said. But, the situation continues to evolve rapidly.
“We at CDC have out best people working on this problem,” she said. “We have the support of the entirety of the federal government, and we have one of the strongest public health systems in the world.”
More information is available at https://www.cdc.gov.