A mystery virus which is thought to have infected up to 200 people so far has now been confirmed as being transmissible via human to human contact sparking fears that the deadly infection could develop into a world wide epidemic similar to the deadly SARS outbreak which hit the region two decades ago.
Airports in China have now taken measures to monitor the temperatures of those leaving the country in an attempt to stop it spreading. Those with high temperatures are being placed under quarantine and monitored for signs of fever associated with the disease. Other Airports around the world have put their own screening into motion.
So far the virus which belongs to the same family as corona-viruses has killed three people in china, over the weekend cases tripled with now being reported in Thailand, South Korea and Japan.
The first suspected cases of what has now been dubbed 'Wuhan Virus' were reported on December 31st 2019 in the region of Wuhan in China. It is unclear as to where the origins of the virus come from but it is thought that it is linked to a wholesale fish and animal market. The World Health Organisation has said that it can not exclude limited human to human transmission.
Scientists have now identified the disease as a form of Coronavirus, the cause of diseases such as the common cold as well as much deadlier diseases such as SARS and MER, both of which have been ruled out as suspects.
The clinical signs are mainly fever, cough, tightness of the chest and breathing difficulties, lungs can also become inflamed and filled with fluid in some patients.
As this is a new strain there are currently no vaccines against it and only preventative methods and catching early signs will stop it spreading.
China is taking the virus very seriously with President Xi saying:
"The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan and other places must be taken seriously.
"Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels should put people's lives and health first.
"They should ensure that the masses have a quiet, peaceful and joyous Spring Festival."
However, as study from Imperial College in London suggest that the cases could be far higher than what China is reporting.
"It is likely that the Wuhan outbreak of a novel coronavirus has caused substantially more cases of moderate or severe respiratory illness than currently reported."
so far the virulence of the virus is unknown, it could be not as deadly as SARS but as so little is known about it, including its origin and how easily it can be passed between humans - it will be monitored and treated serious.
Outside of Asia there have been no recorded cases but health services in countries across the globe will be keeping a vigilant watch for it spreading into territories new.
Edited by KARL