New virus prompts U.S. health officials to begin airport screenings for passengers from Wuhan, China
CDC officials said they believe the current risk of the virus spreading in this country is low. However, “we’re concerned any time there is a new virus or new pathogen emerging in a population that hasn’t seen it before,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of Center for National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC, said Friday during a call with reporters.
“What it means is that populations don’t have existing immunity, and we don’t have specific treatments or vaccines,” she said.
The newly discovered illness is a coronavirus called 2019 nCoV. As of Friday afternoon, at least 45 cases had been reported in China. Most of the cases are linked to a large market in Wuhan with live animals, but there is some evidence the virus can spread from person to person. Two deaths have been reported.
Three cases have been identified outside of China: one in Japan and two in Thailand.