Wuhan Coronavirus Spreads Within Asia


Predictably the number of cases using a diagnostic procedure, presumably a molecular biological procedure such as PCR, has identified additional cases of what is now referred to as Wuhan Coronavirus infection. Authorities have emphasized that although the virus responsible for the 2020 infection is distinct from the 2003 SARS outbreak, there are commonalities in epidemiology.


Previously it was announced that the virus was transmissible from animals to humans by direct contact. Subsequently Dr. Zhong Nanshan, an experienced infectious disease specialist, has stated that the virus has possibly undergone mutation and can be transmitted between humans. This is based on cases in Guangdong Province where family members were in contact with infected relatives who had visited Wuhan. Among the 570 patients as of January 22nd, are 15 health-care providers further reinforcing the reality of human-to-human transmission of the virus.


As with any emerging viral disease, air transport provides a means of dissemination. This past week, two cases were diagnosed in Bangkok, Thailand, one in Japan, and a single case in South Korea all involving passengers. One case was diagnosed in a patient travelling from China to Seattle, WA.


Initial investigations suggest that the Wuhan Coronavirus is not as pathogenic as SARS, which was responsible for 774 fatalities. To date seventeen patients have died, all presumably with predisposing health problems.


The possible impact of the Wuhan virus will become apparent after the January 25th Lunar weekend holiday season commences. Traditionally up to a quarter of the population in China travels by train, bus, or airplane within the nation. Most countries have introduced screening for passengers arriving from China to detect fever or respiratory symptoms.