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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic; Now tracking the Wuhan Coronavirus COVID-19

China Investigates SARS Like Pneumonia Disease

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kilt5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 02 2020 at 2:28pm
China on high alert following outbreak of SARS-like virus

There are fears the deadly, dreaded SARS virus has returned after 30 people were struck down by a mysterious flu in China.

At least 30 people have been quarantined in China after they were struck down by a mysterious flu-like virus of “unknown origin”, sparking fears of a return of the dreaded SARS epidemic.

A team of experts from the National Health Commission (NHC) rushed to Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province on Tuesday and are “currently conducting relevant inspection and verification work”, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

An emergency notification issued by the Wuhan municipal health committee said hospitals in the city had treated a “successive series of patients with unexplained pneumonia”.

Of the 30 struck down by the virus, seven are in a critical condition while the others are stable, the NHC said in a statement.

Most of the patients were stallholders at the local Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which has been shut down in the wake of the outbreak while authorities investigate.

Initial laboratory tests found no “apparent human-to-human transmission” and so far no medical staff had been infected, the statement said.

“Investigation of the cause of infection is ongoing,” it added.

All patients have been quarantined and their close contacts are under medical observation, according to the commission.

https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/china-on-high-alert-following-outbreak-of-sarslike-virus/news-story/aa48fd89228ddbef182558f7b7b69ed5
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 02 2020 at 3:10pm
With luck it might be a hybrid: African Swine flu/H7N9/SARS/H5N1.....

then we would really see some action on climate change.....lol

Sorry my sick sense of humor......
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 02 2020 at 5:39pm
Technophobe:   It seems that information is appearing very slowly and in tiny quanta. So, Here is the latest repitition. The only soupcon of a development, I have highlighted in yellow

No answers yet in China's pneumonia outbreak

Lisa Schnirring | News Editor | CIDRAP News
| Jan 02, 2020

As Chinese scientists continue their probe of an unusual viral pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, local officials yesterday closed the seafood market that was linked to the cases, as governments in nearby Asian destinations stepped up their surveillance in travelers and at hospitals.

The yet-unidentified source of the outbreak has led to rumors, mainly on social media, about a possible severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak and speculation about the possible emergence of a new zoonotic virus.

Earlier this week, officials in Hubei province said 27 people were sick with pneumonia, 7 of them in serious condition, and that all were isolated.

Seafood market also sold other animals

A World Health Organization (WHO) official told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) that the group is in contact with Chinese authorities and that it is closely monitoring developments. Paige Snider, senior advisor to the WHO's China office, told the paper that investigations are still underway and authorities haven't yet confirmed the pathogen that's causing the illness.

The city where the outbreak occurred is home to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, one of the country's top virology labs, which conducts work on emerging viruses and has connections with other global research groups.

According to local media cited by the SCMP report, the Huanan Seafood Market sold other animals, such as birds, pheasants, and snakes, along with organs of rabbits and other wildlife, triggering worries about the potential jump of an unknown virus to humans at the market.
China's neighbors step-up screening

In response, nearby jurisdictions have increased their border screening, and three travelers from Wuhan have been admitted to the hospital in Hong Kong.

After an inter-departmental meeting on the Wuhan pneumonia cases, Hong Kong officials briefed reporters on the developments. According to a transcript, Sophia Chan, secretary for food and health, said Hong Kong hasn't received any Wuhan-related severe pneumonia cases and that the three patients admitted to hospitals in Hong Kong had not visited the Wuhan market.

Chan also told reporters that starting tomorrow, the Hong Kong government will announce the number of related cases flagged by its heightened surveillance system. She also said surveillance has been increased at the hospital authority and the health department, notably at ports, where increased screening for patients with fevers is taking place.

Taiwan's Center for Disease Control announced similar stepped-up measures and had more details about one of the patients hospitalized in Hong Kong after travel to Wuhan, according to a government statement translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary, an infectious disease news blog. The patient had upper-respiratory symptoms and is isolated in stable condition. Rapid screening tests for seasonal flu, SARS, and avian flu were negative.


Source:   http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/01/no-answers-yet-chinas-pneumonia-outbreak
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 02 2020 at 5:40pm
Not being SARS might not be good news; better the devil you know.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 02 2020 at 5:46pm
Nothing new here, but a sensible "summing-up".

Reports emerged earlier this week about a series of unspecified pneumonia cases in Wuhan, in the Hubei province in central China. The circumstances of the outbreak have led to speculation that the outbreak is linked to SARS, but there is no evidence at this point supporting this assertion. At this point, details are still relatively sparse, but we will look briefly at what is currently known and attempt to provide some context for this emerging event.

Unspecified Pneumonia

Initial coverage of the emerging outbreak was published on December 30, and at that time, 27 cases of the disease had been reported, all of whom had been hospitalized. Of these cases, 7 were reported as “critical,” 18 were stable, and 2 were anticipated to be discharged in the near future. All were treated in isolation. Symptoms included fever, pneumonia, and difficulty breathing, but the exact cause of the disease remains unknown. At this point, there has been no identified person-to-person transmission, but most of the patients worked at the nearby Huanan seafood market. In addition to seafood, vendors at the market also sell other animals and meat, including a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Response

Chinese health officials have been deployed to Wuhan to investigate the outbreak. Initial laboratory testing indicated that the patients were suffering from viral pneumonia, and further tests are underway to identify and characterize the virus. Local health officials have conducted inspections and disinfection activities at the seafood market, and vendors were instructed to wear masks to reduce the risk of infection. As of January 1, the seafood market has closed indefinitely “for sanitation and renovation” as part of outbreak response efforts. Case investigations and contact tracing are underway as well, and the WHO has been in contact with Chinese health officials and is monitoring the situation. To our knowledge, there have been no official statements yet by the China CDC or other national-level officials, but local health officials from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission have commented publicly on the outbreak. As an additional note, China is already in the midst of responding to a major epidemic of African swine fever (ASF), so this outbreak will only further strain China’s available public health resources.

Nearby, Hong Kong has enhanced border screening in response to the outbreak in an effort to mitigate the risk of importation. According to Dr. Sophia Chan Siu-chee, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health, “Hong Kong has close transport ties with Wuhan,” and there was concern that Hong Kong’s New Year’s Eve festivities could provide ideal conditions for rapid spread of the disease. Hong Kong hospitals have been notified to be alert for patients meeting the case definition—fever, acute respiratory symptoms or pneumonia, and recent travel to Wuhan—and ready to isolate those individuals. Additionally, the University of Hong Kong is supporting the Food and Health Bureau by providing additional capacity to rapidly process patient specimens for genetic diagnostic tests. Similarly, Taiwan CDC announced that it will increase passenger screening on flights arriving from Wuhan. The enhanced screening measures will reportedly include Taiwan CDC officials boarding the inbound planes to screen passengers before they are permitted to deboard the aircraft. Taiwan CDC officials emphasized that the disease itself “is not known to resemble SARS” and that the screening measures were part of “routine inspections and quarantine measures.” Singapore has also implemented enhanced fever screening for flights arriving from Wuhan, and the Ministry of Health has alerted doctors to be alert for potential cases. Fever screening in both Taiwan and Hong Kong have identified febrile individuals arriving from Wuhan, but none have yet been identified as possible cases linked to the outbreak.

SARS Speculation

The initial reports of a cluster of pneumonia caused by an unidentified virus prompted speculation, initially on social media and then propagated by more traditional media sources, that the outbreak was a re-emergence of SARS or something similar. At this point, any link between this outbreak and SARS is purely speculative, and viral pneumonia can be caused by a number of different viruses. Many of the media reports about the current outbreak have referenced concerns about China’s response to the emergence of SARS. The initial report to the WHO on SARS in 2003 included 305 patients with an unknown pneumonia, identified over a period of several months. WHO officials criticized China over a lack of transparency and access to outbreak data at the onset of the investigation, and China’s Minister of Health and Beijing’s mayor were both removed from office following the initial response. Since that time, however, China has improved its notification and reporting practices for outbreaks, including for H7N9 avian influenza.

Wuhan health officials confirmed the outbreak on December 31, but the initial official report lacked detailed information on the identified cases, including the timeline for symptom onset and case identification. As of January 2, there has been no further official report regarding the outbreak, patients, or response activities, including from local and national health officials in China or the WHO. An article in the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) noted that the families of some patients in Wuhan have called for additional information from doctors and health officials. Channel News Asia (Singapore) reported that police in China have arrested several individuals for deliberately spreading false information linking the outbreak to SARS. Many questions remain about the current state of the outbreak and the findings from initial investigation and contact tracing efforts.

Multiple experts interviewed in several media reports indicated that China’s capacity to identify, diagnose, isolate, and treat patients with SARS-like illnesses has significantly improved since 2003, so even if the disease is determined to be SARS, it is unlikely that it would result in a similar epidemic. Additionally, there does not appear to be any evidence of transmission to healthcare workers or within healthcare facilities, a principal driver of the SARS epidemic (approximately 20% of all SARS cases were in healthcare workers).

Analysis

It is understandable that countries would want to be on the alert for the emergence and spread of a virus with the potential to cause a serious epidemic, but speculation that this emerging outbreak in China is due to a re-emergence of SARS is just that: speculation. The outbreak does appear to share some similarities with the emergence of SARS and avian influenza in China—eg, a cluster of respiratory illness or pneumonia without an identified cause, potential exposures in market settings—but there is no evidence yet to suggest that this outbreak has epidemic potential or that it is caused by SARS or a SARS-like coronavirus. China has made considerable progress since SARS, particularly in terms of disease surveillance and reporting as well as clinical isolation capacity, and the absence of any reports of nosocomial transmission is an encouraging sign that patients have been quickly identified and properly isolated to prevent further transmission.

This situation does, however, illustrate is the importance of providing complete surveillance information, particularly for outbreaks that garner global attention. Some media reports have raised concerns about China’s responses to previous similar outbreaks, such as SARS, but the fact that Chinese health officials have already reported the initial cases and publicly initiated an epidemiological response is promising. That being said, updated information regarding the epidemiological investigation and the initial patients would be helpful at this point in the outbreak. In the absence of such information, speculation will thrive as experts and the public try to piece together the story based on incomplete and potentially inaccurate data. Frequent updates and accurate information are key to combating misinformation during outbreaks. Additionally, if there is not reliable information provided about the disease or outbreak, countries may be inclined to take measures to prevent importation of the disease that may be in excess of what would be supported by the scientific evidence. But without solid information on which to rely, it is easier for countries to make the case that these enhanced measures are necessary and effective. It is in countries’ best interest to be proactive in publishing available clinical and epidemiological information and sharing updates with the international community, both to quell rumors and misinformation and to support appropriate disease control measures domestically and in other countries.

Outbreaks of unknown etiology—especially, unknown respiratory viruses—are always worth investigating fully, so we will certainly keep a close eye on this emerging event and provide updates via our Twitter account (@Outbreaks101).


Source:   https://www.outbreakobservatory.org/outbreakthursday-1/1/2/2020/unknown-viral-pneumonia-in-china
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 02 2020 at 10:34pm
There is a Wuhan Institute Of Virology, but I can not find anything on their pages about the new virus.

Here is an old article from 2017 talking about Avian Flu in Wuhan.




ps. Albert, thanks for the warning on the home page.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 03 2020 at 5:43am
Sure thing, Edwin. Thanks for the ongoing participation with great info.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 03 2020 at 5:46am
So they have ruled out Sars and avian flu with rapid tests? Not sure what that means about this. A new Coronavirus? I suppose the mystery continues.... or China is covering something up. Again.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 03 2020 at 7:41am
Not much new news, but it hit the front page of the BBC World section in the internet news.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 03 2020 at 10:35am
All news sites gratefully accepted, Edwin!

China is synonymous with cover-up/whitewash, Boss; that is why all news is welcomed so intensely. - But you already knew that.

As to what it means........................

Well, initial tests usually give a guideline only. So there is no guarantee it is not SARS yet. Although, this is increasingly unlikely.

What worries me is the unknown. A novel virus might be horrific news! Then again it could be mild, without h2h transmission or even already stopped in its tracks.   With China, we just don't know...... 'And they ain't going to tell us!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 03 2020 at 12:48pm
The W.H.O. web site is s..t,

has always been, what do they do

with the millions of dollars they get,

Certainly not up to date news....

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 03 2020 at 12:51pm
BBC News
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China pneumonia outbreak: Mystery virus probed in Wuhan
03 January 2020 China
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Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESA view over Wuhan city
Image captionThe outbreak has occurred in the city of Wuhan
Chinese authorities have launched an investigation into a mysterious viral pneumonia which has infected dozens of people in the central city of Wuhan.

A total of 44 cases have been confirmed so far, 11 of which are considered "severe", officials said on Friday.

The outbreak has prompted Singapore and Hong Kong to bring in screening processes for travellers from the city.

It comes amid online fears the virus could be linked to Sars, or severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The potentially deadly, flu-like Sars virus killed more than 700 people around the world in 2002-03, after originating in China.

There has been speculation on social media about a possible connection to the highly contagious disease.

Wuhan police said eight people had been punished for "publishing or forwarding false information on the internet without verification".

The people who risked their lives to stop the virus
The Wuhan health commission said on Friday it was investigating the cause of the outbreak.

In a statement on its website, it said it had already ruled out a number of infection sources - including influenza, avian influenza and common respiratory diseases - but did not mention Sars.

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Map
There has also been no human-to-human transmission, the statement added. However, a number of those infected worked at a seafood market in the city, leading authorities to clean the area.

A spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was aware of the outbreak and was in contact with the Chinese government.

"There are many potential causes of viral pneumonia, many of which are more common than severe acute respiratory syndrome coronovirus," the spokesman added. "WHO is closely monitoring this event and will share more details as we have them. "

Presentational grey line
Fears sparked by an older epidemic
Analysis by BBC Health's Philippa Roxby

This latest outbreak appears to have sparked memories for those who dealt with a Sars epidemic 18 years ago.

At the time, the WHO criticised China for under-reporting the number of cases of Sars in a southern Chinese province.

In the 2002-03 epidemic, the virus affected more than 8,000 people in 26 countries, killing 349 people in mainland China and 299 in Hong Kong.

Travellers flying to other countries are thought to have been behind the large number of cases in that outbreak because Sars spreads quickly without swift treatment in hospital.

China sacked its health minister at the time for the poor handling of the crisis.

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The country has been free of Sars since May 2004.

More on this story
Sars: The people who risked their lives to stop the virus
16 August 2013

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
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Hong Kong Isolates Fever Patient After Mystery Virus Hits China's Wuhan
The lack of official information about an outbreak of viral pneumonia has residents of Wuhan fearing another SARS-style cover-up.
2020-01-02

The seafood market to which an epidemic of what China is calling "pneumonia of unknown cause" was traced in Wuhan, China, Dec. 31, 2019.
Hong Kong's Hospital Authority said on Thursday it had isolated a patient who arrived from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, which state media says has seen an outbreak of "viral pneumonia" in recent days, but that she tested negative for SARS, avian and seasonal influenza.

The woman has been placed in isolation at Tuen Mun Hospital after falling sick after arriving from Wuhan, where officials are investigating 27 cases of viral pneumonia, including seven people in critical condition.

The Authority said the woman has an upper respiratory tract infection and a fever and is in a stable condition, but has tested negative for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), as well as bird flu and regular influenza.

Officials in Wuhan said that several clinics and hospitals in the city have received patients suffering from pneumonia, of which the cause was unknown. However, all patients have previously visited a seafood market in the city.

A team of experts from the National Health Commission arrived in Wuhan on Tuesday, and are "conducting relevant inspection and verification work," state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Online activist Zhang Ruigen said there are concerns that the ruling Chinese Communist Party may seek to cover up the seriousness of the outbreak, as it was accused of doing in 2003 by the World Health Organization during the SARS outbreak.

"I think the Wuhan government is cracking down on information," Zhang said. "They are trying to do a news blackout, and they are calling the truth rumors and fake news the truth."

"When SARS broke out in 2003, the government also blocked the news and said it was rumors, and then said it couldn't be covered at all," Zhang said. "This is still the same routine: they are calling it 'pneumonia of unknown cause.'"

"The first thing they think about is how not to reveal the truth. The first thing they do is detain people and censor public speech," he said.

Coverup feared

A local resident surnamed Feng agreed.

"They are deleting everything, and people are frightened because they haven't made an official announcement yet," Feng said. "I think the local government wants to cover it up, because it's the end of the year, and stability matters more than anything; that's their MO."

SARS -- described as atypical pneumonia caused by a coronavirus -- killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2003. The virus, which infected more than 8,000 people around the world, is believed to have originated in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.

The WHO declared China free of the SARS virus in May 2004.

Initial reports indicated that a case of coronavirus-linked pneumonia was confirmed in the Central (No. 2) Hospital of the Tongji Medical College.

An employee who answered the phone at the hospital's department of respiratory medicine declined to comment when contacted by RFA.

"Sorry, we haven't received any feedback on the situation," the employee said.

An official who answered the phone at the Wuhan municipal health bureau said there was as yet no confirmed diagnosis of the disease.

"It should be referred to as pneumonia of unknown cause," the official said. "Don't cause panic. We haven't had any fatalities yet so people should just pay attention to hygiene and don't go to crowded places."

The seafood market that the epidemic was traced to lies close to Hankou Railway Station, which sees tens of thousands of people passing through every day, and yet the market hasn't been shut down, just subjected to disinfection routines, sources in the city told RFA.

While reports have suggested the virus may have come from infected meat at the market, health officials have said there have been no cases so far of human-to-human transmission.

Reported by Wong Siu-san and Sing Man for RFA's Cantonese Service, and by Qiao Long for the Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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The patient count has now reached 44 (that we know of).

China pneumonia outbreak: Thriller virus probed in Wuhan

Last updated Jan 3, 2020

Chinese authorities have launched an investigation into a mysterious viral pneumonia which has infected dozens of people in the central city of Wuhan.

A total of 44 cases have been confirmed so far, 11 of which are considered “severe”, officials said on Friday.

The outbreak has prompted Singapore and Hong Kong to bring in screening processes for travellers from the city.

It comes amid online fears the virus could be linked to Sars, or severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The potentially deadly, flu-like Sars virus killed more than 700 people around the world in 2002-03, after originating in China.

There has been speculation on social media about a possible connection to the highly contagious disease.

Wuhan police said eight people had been punished for “publishing or forwarding false information on the internet without verification”.

The people who risked their lives to stop the virus

The Wuhan health commission said on Friday it was investigating the cause of the outbreak.

In a statement on its website, it said it had already ruled out a number of infection sources – including influenza, avian influenza and common respiratory diseases – but did not mention Sars.

There has also been no human-to-human transmission, the statement added. However, a number of those infected worked at a seafood market in the city, leading authorities to clean the area.

A spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was aware of the outbreak and was in contact with the Chinese government.

“There are many potential causes of viral pneumonia, many of which are more common than severe acute respiratory syndrome coronovirus,” the spokesman added. “WHO is closely monitoring this event and will share more details as we have them. “


Fears sparked by an older epidemic

Analysis by BBC Health’s Philippa Roxby

This latest outbreak appears to have sparked memories for those who dealt with a Sars epidemic 18 years ago.

At the time, the WHO criticised China for under-reporting the number of cases of Sars in a southern Chinese province.

In the 2002-03 epidemic, the virus affected more than 8,000 people in 26 countries, killing 349 people in mainland China and 299 in Hong Kong.

Travellers flying to other countries are thought to have been behind the large number of cases in that outbreak because Sars spreads quickly without swift treatment in hospital.

China sacked its health minister at the time for the poor handling of the crisis.

The country has been free of Sars since May 2004.

Source and links:   https://rnews.co.uk/china-pneumonia-outbreak-thriller-virus-probed-in-wuhan/
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Oh, and by the way, 121 under observation!

China pneumonia outbreak raises spectre of Sars as number infected jumps to 44

All those with the mystery illness in Wuhan are under quarantine, health authorities say, with a further 121 people under medical observation
    
The virus could be a new strain and take longer to identify, experts say

Chinese health
authorities should be on high alert for a possible new strain of pneumonia and learn from 2002’s deadly Sars epidemic, medical experts said after cases of a mystery outbreak almost doubled in three days.
The authorities in Wuhan, central China, said 44 people had been admitted to hospital with the unidentified virus, up from the 27 reported on Tuesday
. Eleven of them were in a serious condition, while a further 121 people who had been in close contact with the infected patients had been placed under medical observation. No deaths have been reported.

Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said that the origin of the viral pneumonia outbreak remained unknown. It said investigations had so far ruled out common flu, avian flu, adenovirus infection and other common respiratory diseases. Further laboratory tests and investigations were under way.

The commission added that there was no proof of human-to-human transmission, nor had any medical staff contracted the illness.

It came as Hong Kong Hospital Authority said on Friday that two female patients admitted to hospital after recently visiting Wuhan had been confirmed as having influenza, not the unidentified virus. In response to the Wuhan outbreak, airports in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan had tightened fever surveillance of arriving passengers.

Emily Chan Ying-yang, a medical professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a visiting professor at Oxford University, said the sudden rise in cases in Wuhan was “not alarming” but raised concerns that the virus may be a new strain.

It takes less than 24 hours to confirm common types of flu, but rare strains can take longer, Chan said.

“If it were Sars [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome], we are experienced in managing it,” Chan said. “But if it is a new strain, then we should pay attention.

“The scariest thing with Sars is its fatality rate, and that young people died. We don’t know whether the serious cases in Wuhan are young or old people – that deserves attention.”

She said it was important to share information with the public once the virus and cause were identified because large numbers of people would be travelling across China during the Lunar New Year in late January.

Professor Jiang Rongmeng, of Ditan Hospital in Beijing, one of China’s top centres for treating infectious diseases, said the rise in infections was probably a consequence of active detection and reporting of unexplained pneumonia cases.

“No apparent human-to-human transmission has been detected so far, otherwise there would have been a community outbreak with more infections,” he said.

Reports so far suggested that the pneumonia could be caused by a rare virus or a previously unknown one, Jiang said, adding that identification may take up to a week.

When the Wuhan health authority first reported the outbreak on Tuesday, it said that most of the patients were stallholders at the city’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

Later reports confirmed that the market sold other live animals including birds and rabbits, prompting comparisons with the Sars virus, which is thought to have jumped from animals to humans. Authorities ordered the closure of the market on Wednesday.

A Wuhan government official who requested anonymity said that his wife, who is a nurse in the infectious disease unit at Wuhan Central Hospital, had been unable to go home because her ward had been under “lockdown” for the past few days.

“My kids and I can still call her on her mobile,” he said. “[But] we are very worried for her, although she said all is fine.”

Dr Gauden Galea, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) representative in China, said in a statement on Thursday that the Wuhan municipal health commission had “isolated cases, initiated contact tracing and made further efforts to prevent the spread of disease”. A national expert team had been deployed to Wuhan on Tuesday, he said.

“There are many potential causes of this type of illness and further laboratory tests are ongoing to determine the cause of the disease,” Galea said. “At this point, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus is not yet confirmed or excluded as the cause of the outbreak.”

The 2002-03 Sars epidemic infected more than 5,300 people and killed 349 in mainland China. In Hong Kong, 1,750 people were infected and 299 died. The Hong Kong government took 10 days to identify the Sars virus in 2003.

According to the WHO, the Sars coronavirus is thought to be an animal virus from an as-yet-uncertain animal reservoir, perhaps bats, that spread to other animals and first infected humans in Guangdong, near Hong Kong, in late 2002.

Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, said on Friday that the city’s government had “made necessary arrangements and strengthened prevention measures” in response to the pneumonia cases in Wuhan.

Speaking at an inspection of the West Kowloon Rail Terminus, Lam said the government would announce any cases of infection daily, and urged members of public to take appropriate personal hygiene measures.

On a Cathay Dragon flight into Wuhan on Friday evening, the flight attendants were wearing face masks, and made an announcement warning travellers to stay away from seafood markets and to seek medical attention if they experienced a fever or other symptoms.

Additional reporting by Christy Leung, Josephine Ma, Zhuang Pinghui, Linda Lew and William Zheng


Source:   https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3044535/wuhan-pneumonia-dramatic-rise-cases-44-11-serious
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 03 2020 at 4:23pm
Although this is scary, it could turn out to be anything - even a storm in a teacup. So don't let it take your eyes off of other balls like Kilt's latest graphs http://www.avianflutalk.com/us-on-track-for-one-of-the-worst-flu-seasons_topic40297_post280894.html#280894. So if you have not got your flu shot yet - go do so NOW.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John L. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2020 at 12:11am
Hong Kong preparing countermeasures with cases there now up to seven.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-04/hong-kong-unveils-response-plan-for-pneumonia-outbreak-in-china?srnd=premium

Technology
Hong Kong Unveils Response Plan for Pneumonia Outbreak in China
By Annie Lee
January 4, 2020, 1:44 AM EST
The government has activated response level to ‘serious’
Total number of suspected cases in Hong Kong reaches seven

Hong Kong unveiled a plan to deal with infectious diseases after a mysterious pneumonia outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

The government classified the response level as “serious” -- the second-highest scale of action in its three-tier system with the top-most being emergency, according to a statement from the Department of Health. The current classification estimates the immediate health impact on the local population to be moderate.

The total number of suspected cases in Hong Kong rose to seven, according to Radio Television Hong Kong, citing Sophia Chan, the city’s secretary for food and health. The government has decided to step up the monitoring of the situation, she said.

As of Friday, 44 people have been diagnosed with pneumonia in Wuhan, and the cause is unknown. Hong Kong authorities said thermal imaging systems will be deployed as part of increased fever surveillance at boundary check points.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2020 at 2:16am
Wuhan pneumonia outbreak: Hong Kong government steps up precautionary measures

2 January 2020

Via The Straits Times in Singapore: Wuhan pneumonia outbreak: Hong Kong government steps up precautionary measures after several cases reported. Excerpt:

    HONG KONG - The Hong Kong government has unveiled precautionary measures it has taken in response to an outbreak of pneumonia cases in the Chinese city of Wuhan, including daily briefings, local media reported.

    On New Year's Eve, officials in Wuhan announced that several clinics and hospitals in the city had received patients suffering from pneumonia and the cause was not known.

    Twenty-seven people were reported by Chinese media to have been infected, with seven of them seriously ill.

    Hong Kong's Hospital Authority said it had notified the government of three cases in which it treated patients for pneumonia symptoms after visiting Wuhan recently, public broadcaster RTHK reported.

    The Authority said a female patient in Tuen Mun Hospital and a male teenager in Tai Po Nethersole Hospital have since been discharged, but a woman is still being treated in Princess Margaret Hospital.

    Health Secretary Sophia Chan told a news briefing late on Thursday (Jan 2) that the three cases are not linked to the mysterious Sars-like disease in Wuhan, because the patients did not visit the seafood market that is believed to be the source of the virus.

    However, she said the government will start giving daily updates on suspected cases it receives from the Hospital Authority, and it is also taking other measures to protect its borders.

    "There are heightened procedures. There are increased procedures - surveillance procedures - that both the Hospital Authority as well as the Department of Health have taken," Ms Chan said.

    From Friday, additional thermal imaging systems will be put in place in the Hong Kong International Airport to check the body temperature of inbound travellers from Wuhan, RTHK reported.

    For all boundary control points including Hong Kong West Kowloon Station of the Express Rail Link, fever patients with acute respiratory symptoms who have visited wet markets or seafood markets in Wuhan within 14 days prior to the onset of the illness will be referred to public hospitals.

    The MTR Corporation, the Airport Authority, and airlines have also been advised to step up disinfection measures for Wuhan services.



Source:   https://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/2020/01/wuhan-pneumonia-outbreak-hong-kong-government-steps-up-precautionary-measures.html

Technophobe: Obviously, things have gotten worse in the last 2 days since this was published. (EdwinSm's post} But there were sa couple of points in this article I thought should be reported. This bit is an assumption and may not be correct. If wrong it indicates h2h transmission: Health Secretary Sophia Chan told a news briefing late on Thursday (Jan 2) that the three cases are not linked to the mysterious Sars-like disease in Wuhan, because the patients did not visit the seafood market that is believed to be the source of the virus.

and the increase in precautionary measures is also of interest.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2020 at 8:21am
It would appear that Sars is back. It's about the only one that has not yet been ruled out. Canada and New York airports may want to take precautions and start screening passengers. This outbreak is under the radar and not being covered much, but that's about to change I would suspect. All hell is about to break loose if they announce Sars, unless they contain pretty quick.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2020 at 9:02am
11 patients are in critical condition. From my limited experience, that usually means 11 are about to die. A 25% fatality rate would be a little concerning. Pneumonia is of course treated with antibiotics, but if it's not working, then it would certainly be reminiscent of Sars in 2003.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/alarms-raised-china-pneumonia-outbreak-infects-dozens-200104002802346.html
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