China +2

Two countries, in addition to China, have now had visits from the novel Wuhan coronavirus, detected in travellers with respiratory symptoms. Thailand and Japan have each reported a case and it seems neither person had visited the Huanan Seafood market.

The first case in Thailand

On January 13th, Thailand reported a case of the novel Wuhan coronavirus.[4] The visiting 61-year-old woman from China became ill with fever, sore throat and headache on January 5th. She flew from Wuhan to Thailand on January 8th.

People travel sick. This is a hallmark of the spread of outbreaks and human behaviour. She was detected by thermal scanning (it can work if used at the right febrile phase of illness) at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The patient repeatedly visited a local fresh food market in Wuhan before she became ill but it was not the Huanan South China Seafood Market.[4] So this again suggests that other markets have the suspected animal source, or that she had contact with an infected person – another case, a vendor in contact with the outbreak source, a distributor of the source, stall cleaner etc.

So far, testing of other markets in Wuhan has not turned up any virus-positive samples. And there is as yet no idea how the virus may have gained entry to the person – inhaled, ingested or self-inoculated from a contaminated surface or object.

Contacts are being observed and hopefully tested using sensitive laboratory tests.[5]

The first case in Japan

A man in his 30s returned from travel to Wuhan, China January 6th and visited a medical centre. [1,3] He had a fever from January 3rd.[2] He was hospitalized on the 10th, diagnosed with pneumonia, and discharged on the 15th, the same day that the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (Murayama Government Building) confirmed the presence of the coronavirus in the patient’s sample.[2] The hospital reported the pneumonia case on the 14th.[2]

According to reports from the person himself, he did not visit the Huanan seafood market but there is a comment in the Ministry of Health’s report that there was a “potential close contact with unspecified pneumonia patients in China.” More information will be necessary to understand if this is a definite contact or an assumed contact and what it means to the story of human-to-human transmission.

References

  1. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/01/137ca54da06a-urgent-japan-confirms-1st-case-of-infection-with-new-coronavirus-from-china.html
  2. Outbreak of patients with pneumonia associated with novel coronavirus
    https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/newpage_08906.html
  3. New type pneumonia confirmed for the first time in Japan Travel history to China and Wuhan https://www.sankei.com/life/news/200116/lif2001160010-n1.html
  4. Novel Coronavirus – Thailand (ex-China)
    https://www.who.int/csr/don/14-january-2020-novel-coronavirus-thailand-ex-china/en/
  5. Diagnostic detection of Wuhan coronavirus 2019 by real-time RTPCR
    https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/wuhan-virus-assay-v1991527e5122341d99287a1b17c111902.pdf?sfvrsn=d381fc88_2

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