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New Virus From China Reaches Japan

Authorities say patient visited Chinese city
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 16, 2020 5:03 AM CST
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A vendor gives out copies of newspaper with a headlines of "Wuhan break out a new type of coronavirus, Hong Kong prevent SARS repeat" in Hong Kong, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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(Newser) – Japan's government said Thursday a man treated for pneumonia after returning from China has tested positive for the new coronavirus identified as a possible cause of an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The man developed a fever and cough on Jan. 3 while in Wuhan, returned to Japan on Jan. 6, and was hospitalized four days later as the symptoms persisted, with his X-ray image showing signs of pneumonia, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare said. Tests conducted Tuesday found the same coronavirus as had been detected in other patients in the Wuhan outbreak, the ministry said. The man has since been released from the hospital as his condition improved. He was only identified as a man in his 30s in the Kanagawa prefecture, west of Tokyo, and Kyodo News agency says he is Chinese.

The man's family and medical staff who treated him have not been sickened. Officials in Wuhan said last weekend 41 people had pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus and a 61-year-old man had died—China's first known death from the virus, the AP reports. The World Health Organization also has said it was consulting with Thai and Chinese health authorities after a case was reported in Thailand involving a Chinese traveler. Eiji Hinoshita, an official at the ministry's infectious disease section, told reporters that the man told officials he did not go to the fish market in Wuhan linked to the pneumonia outbreak, but had "close contact" with at least one person with pneumonia symptoms at a place where he stayed during the visit.

(Read more medical mystery stories.)

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