When two days ago, the chinese authorities reported that the mysterious pneumonia to the city of Wuhan was due to a new strain of a coronavirus similar to that which in 2002 caused the epidemic of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome, for its acronym in English), called for calm assuring that, until then, all patients were progressing normally. Just two days later, the outbreak has claimed its first victim.
The City Commission of Health of Wuhan, a village located in the center of the country and the capital of the Hubei province with 11 million people, has announced this morning that a 61-year-old has died as a result of the condition. Of the 41 people diagnosed to date, seven remain in serious condition, while the other two that no longer showed symptoms have been given of high.
The authorities, however, have wanted to send a message of tranquility, ensuring that you do not have detected new cases from the past January 3, and that no member of the medical team has been infected. “There is No evidence that is transmitted from human to human,” said a spokesman for the agency. “The people who have been in direct contact with the sick people, medical personnel included, have not been infected.”
This mysterious disease appeared in Wuhan last December. The majority of people working in a fish market and seafood in the traded with live animals where it is suspected that may be the source of the pathogen. Since then, the area has been closed and quarantined.
Wang Guangfa, a specialist in respiratory medicine of the First Hospital of Peking University and member of the research team, which last week managed to isolate the genetic sequence of the infectious agent, has insured that the situation of the patients, and the general conditions of the outbreak are “under control” in an interview with the national public television CCTV. However, among the population concerned about the proximity of chinese new year, which will take place on the 25th of January, in just two weeks. On the occasion of this national holiday, it is tradition for people to return to the family home, in what marks the largest human migration in the world with more than 3,000 million of displacements: an ideal scenario for the outbreak of an epidemic.
The infectious agent could have exceeded already the borders of China. In South Korea, the woman was admitted last Tuesday with a box similar to after a business trip to Wuhan is kept in stable. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention of Korea (KCDC) has confirmed that the patient remains in isolation and that the health authorities are monitoring its evolution. In Hong Kong, 54 people have been admitted with breathing problems after having visited the chinese city in recent weeks, according to the autonomous region last Friday and 31 of them have already been discharged.
coronaviruses, which are named by the shape of a crown who adopt views of the microscope, they usually attack the respiratory tract of mammals. To date only knew of six. Four cause mild symptoms similar to those of a cold. The other two, however, are sadly famous: in 2002, the SARS coronavirus, which originated in China, caused the death of more than 700 people around the world; while in 2015 the (MERS respiratory syndrome of Middle East) left 449 people dead.
In a press release made public after the discovery, the World Health Organization chose not to establish special measures for travelers visiting China. “New coronavirus appear periodically [...] and China has a health care system robust, able to respond to and manage outbreaks of respiratory infections”, said the text. The institution, however, pointed out that “in the next few weeks will be necessary information more comprehensive to better understand the current status and epidemiology of the outbreak”.Updated Date: 11 January 2020, 17:00