THURSDAY, Jan. 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The first case of person-to-person transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the United States was reported by federal health officials on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to six.
This latest patient is the husband of a Chicago woman who was the second confirmed case in the United States. She had traveled to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak and fell ill upon her return home. The husband is in his 60s and has underlying health conditions, U.S. health officials said during a media briefing Thursday.
"This second patient (the husband) did not travel to China, indicating the first person-to-person transmission of novel coronavirus in the United States," said Ngozi Ezike, M.D., director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. "The risk to the general public in Illinois remains low," Ezike said during the briefing. "This person-to-person spread was between two very close contacts, a wife and husband. The virus is not spreading widely across the community."
Robert Redfield, M.D., director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agreed. "We understand this may be concerning, but based on what we know now our assessment remains that the risk to the public is low," Redfield said during the briefing. "The vast majority of Americans have not had recent travel to China, the high-risk areas of transmission where human-to-human transmission is occurring."
Overnight, the number of cases of 2019-nCoV in China rose from 5,974 to 7,700, while the death toll climbed to 170. Those counts eclipse the 5,327 cases and 348 deaths reported in China during the 2003 SARS outbreak, the Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has declared the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak an international public health emergency.
CDC Press Release
Illinois Department of Public Health
AP News Article
World Health Organization