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2nd U.S. case of coronavirus confirmed in Chicago :

January 24, 2020

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A second U.S. case of a novel coronavirus has been confirmed in a Chicago woman and is one of 63 potential cases under investigation in 22 states.

The case follows confirmation of the virus earlier this week in a Washington state man in his 30s. Eleven other patients have tested negative, and 50 are waiting on test results, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“While this situation poses a very serious public health threat, CDC believes the immediate risk to the U.S. public is low at this time, but the situation continues to evolve rapidly,” said Nancy Messonnier, M.D., director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The Chicago woman is in her 60s and returned from Wuhan, China, the center of the new virus’ outbreak, on Jan. 13. She fell ill several days later. She has had limited contact with other people since her return and is being treated in an isolation room at a local hospital where authorities said she is doing well. Those known to have come in contact with her have not displayed symptoms of illness.

“This is all very reassuring as far as infection risk to the general public, which remains low nationally and locally here in Chicago,” said Chicago Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., M.P.H.

China first reported cases in late December and linked the virus to a large market with seafood and live animals in Wuhan, a city of more than 11 million people and a major transportation hub. The pathogen is genetically similar to those that caused outbreaks of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and there is evidence of human-to-human spread.

The global case count has reached 881, and there have been 26 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. While most of the cases are in China, cases have been confirmed in Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the U.S.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization declined to declare an international public health emergency but did not rule out doing so in the coming days or weeks.

The CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to Wuhan. Those who do travel to China should avoid people who are sick and practice good hand hygiene. Upon their return, they should monitor themselves for fever and respiratory symptoms for 14 days and contact their health care provider immediately if they get sick.

In the past week, the CDC has screened about 2,000 people arriving from Wuhan at international airports in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Atlanta. Officials said they are continuing to evaluate their approach as China implements new travel restrictions in Wuhan and other cities.

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