(WYTV) – A dangerous new virus that has sickened hundreds and killed six victims in China has now spread to the United States.
The first patient, a man in his 30s, has been identified in Washington state.
“This person had come back to the United States on Jan. 15 and then sought medical care,” said Dr. John Venglarchik, a local infectious disease specialist.
Confirming he’d contracted the virus that originated in Wuhan, China last month.
“They tend to occur in open markets. Where this appeared in Wuhan, China, it was a seafood and animal market,” Venglarchik said.
Spreading to three neighboring countries and now the United States.
“Apparently, there was a mutation in this virus, which normally transmits between these animals, had mutated and was capable of making the spread from animals into humans,” Venglarchik said.
But in some instances, the virus can also mutate and spread from person to person.
“The CDC is currently estimated its impact on health in the United States to be low, and that’s because we’re not sure of how easily it’s transmitted from human to human,” Venglarchik said.
Venglarcik said the virus causes severe respiratory problems and pneumonia-like symptoms.
It’s a concern for those who have recently traveled to or around China.
“The issue with this one is respiratory distress. This is difficulty breathing. This is not cough, cough, cough, wheeze. This is individuals who are sitting down and can’t catch their breath, feel short of breath,” Venglarchik said.
But if you’re still not convinced, Venglarchik offers this advice…
“If you’re concerned about this, please go out and get your influenza immunization today if you haven’t had it,” he said.
The CDC is also raising the travel health notice from level one to level two.
Screenings have been set up at several major airports across the United States and will expand to Atlanta and Chicago international airports starting on Wednesday.