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China's pneumonia-like outbreak linked to meat and seafood market in Wuhan

15 January 2020 1:19 PM
Tags:
China
Pneumonia
Coronavirus
Connor Bamford
viral outbreak
Wuhan
food market
civet cat
virus

Authorities identified a new type of coronavirus as the likely culprit behind a viral outbreak in China. A virologist explains.

A mysterious viral outbreak in China has now been identified as a new type of coronavirus.

The new coronavirus outbreak has been linked to a market in Wuhan, which sold seafood, meat and live animals. It has since been closed.

Coronaviruses can cause a range of illnesses, from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

There have been at least 59 cases of the pneumonia-like virus in Wuhan, eastern China, since December 2019.

One fatality has so far been reported and seven cases have been deemed "serious".

A view of Wuhan City and the Yellow Crane Tower, a landmark building. Image: 123rf.com

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says a tourist in Thailand has become the first person outside China diagnosed with the new, pneumonia-like virus.

WHO has urged countries around the world to be on the lookout for the symptoms of severe acute respiratory infections, although no travel bans have announced yet.

UK-based virology expert Connor Bamford believes the virus could have originated from a civet cat at the market.

Bamford says the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak bears similarity to the SARS epidemic that originated in China, killing hundreds of people in 2002 and 2003.

He adds that there may have been a limited human-to-human transmission of the virus within families.

This is a new human virus. It likely came from an animal.

Connor Bamford Research Fellow in Virology - Queen's University Belfast

There appears to be this one cluster of cases of pneumonia; and they all have a link to this market, although the exact links of how they might have picked up the virus are currently unknown.

Connor Bamford Research Fellow in Virology - Queen's University Belfast

There's indication that it might involve multiple sites, probable animals in live markets.

Connor Bamford Research Fellow in Virology - Queen's University Belfast

It might be likely that these individuals were exposed to a live animal, such as a civet cat, or something that might have been contaminated by a civet cat.

Connor Bamford Research Fellow in Virology - Queen's University Belfast

Listen to the discussion on Today with Kieno Kammies:


15 January 2020 1:19 PM
Tags:
China
Pneumonia
Coronavirus
Connor Bamford
viral outbreak
Wuhan
food market
civet cat
virus

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