A patient in Southern California is the third person in the US to be diagnosed with the new pneumonia-like virus from China, reports the AP. The Centers for Disease Control confirmed a traveler from the Chinese city of Wuhan—the epicenter of the outbreak—tested positive for the virus, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced Saturday. The patient is in isolation at a hospital and in good condition. The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing, and pneumonia. The first known case in California comes on the heels of diagnoses in Washington state, on Jan. 21, and Chicago, on Jan. 24. Both patients had also traveled to China. The death toll in China is at 56 so far. China has issued massive travel bans in hard-hit sections of that country to try to stem spread of the virus, and the US Consulate in Wuhan announced Sunday it would evacuate personnel and some private citizens aboard a charter flight.
The CDC expects more Americans to be diagnosed with the newly discovered virus, which is believed to have an incubation period of about two weeks, as worldwide the number of confirmed cases nears 2,000. The CDC is screening passengers on flights from Wuhan at airports in Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The Orange County patient had contacted local health officials, who provided guidance to reduce exposure to the public while awaiting CDC confirmation. The Orange County agency has consulted with the CDC and the California Department of Health and will follow up with people who have had close contact with the patient. CDC guidance advises that people who have had casual contact with the patient are at “minimal risk” for infection. There's no evidence that person-to-person transmission occurred in Orange County, and the risk of local transmission remains low.
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