A new virus thought to have originated in a Chinese seafood market that also sells live animals has infected hundreds and claimed the lives of 17 people. Now that it's made it's way to the United States, health officials aren't wasting any time to get the word out and stop the spread.
What started out as a mystery virus last month in Wuhan, China finally has a diagnosis. The Coronavirus has infected over 500 people, killing 17.
In the U.S., the first case is confirmed in Washington state.
"We know from past experiences that these things don't stay isolated so it's important to jump on this right away," said Dr. Jeffrey Jahre with St. Luke's Health Network.
The strain is similar to that of SARS and MERS which both caught the attention of the World Health Organization. Doctors say they believe the virus was picked up at a open seafood market in Wuhan, China, that also sells live animals.
We now know,the virus can be transmitted between humans, as well.
"Even though these viruses can be in both humans and animals, there's a jump from animals to humans and we know in this specific case it can also be transmitted from human to human," Dr. Jahre said.
The most common symptoms are rather common-cold-like, in fact.
"People who have come down with this virus seem to have a week's worth of a cough and then they become short of breath," Dr. Jahre said.
Dr. Jahre says elderly people or those with underlying health issues are the most at risk. It's advised neither of these groups travel to China at this time. The city itself is being quarantined.
"There are many other threats that are with us right now, including influenza, and we don't know whether this is going to become a major issue or not. So precautions are much better than treatment and that's what we're looking at right now," Dr. Jahre said.