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In the US, an Unwanted First With Coronavirus

Chicago woman infects husband, first case of person-to-person transmission here
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2020 12:30 PM CST
A sales clerk at a pharmacy rings up a purchase of face masks amid fears of the coronavirus in Chicago on Friday, Jan 24.   (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP)

(Newser) – The latest person to be diagnosed with coronavirus in the US did not travel to China, unlike the first five. Unfortunately for him, his wife did. The CDC said Thursday that the unidentified man's case in Chicago is the first person-to-person transmission in this country, reports WGN. The man's wife recently visited China to care for her ailing father, and she was diagnosed with the illness upon her return to Chicago earlier this month. She and her husband, both in their 60s, are now hospitalized.

“We anticipated this,” says William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, per the AP. “The kind of contact that you have in a household is very close and very prolonged. That’s the kind of circumstance where we would anticipate a virus such as this could be transmitted." Health officials think the disease spreads much like the flu, through an infected person's coughs and sneezes. Thousands have been sickened in China, and the global death toll is currently 170. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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