lørdag 18. januar 2020

China's new SARS-like virus has spread to Japan, but we still know very little about it

Fears are mounting across Asia over the cross-border spread of a new coronavirus identified in China that has killed one patient and sickened dozens, as health authorities race to identify the source of the pathogen. The new strain of coronavirus, in the same family as the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), originated in Wuhan, the largest city in central China. It was confirmed Thursday to have been detected in Japan, a few days after Thailand confirmed its first case of infection.

The outbreak has cast a shadow over Lunar New Year celebrations and put the rest of Asia on alert. Virologists around the world are now studying its genome sequence shared by Chinese researchers, but many questions still remain. Researchers have yet to rule out the possibility that the virus could be transmitted from person to person, and on Wednesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Watch Level 1 Alert -- the lowest of a three-tier travel health notices that warns visitors of Wuhan to "be aware and practice usual precautions."