US reports 1st case of person-to-person spread of new virus

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

Three of the five people identified by the Virginia Department of Health as possibly infected with the coronavirus have tested negative. Results for the other two are pending.

Concern over the rapidly spreading virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, led the U.S. government to announce Friday that it is advising against all travel to China. The World Health Organization has also declared the outbreak a global emergency, as more than 11,000 people have been infected and more than 250 have died, according to The Associated Press.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tested 241 people in the U.S. for the virus as of Friday afternoon, of which six have tested positive, 114 have tested negative and 121 are still pending.

The VDH announced Sunday that it was investigating three possible cases — two in central Virginia and one in Northern Virginia. Since then, two additional patients have been identified — one in central and one in Northern Virginia.

Symptoms of the current outbreak include fever, cough and trouble breathing and can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure, according to VDH.

VDH encourages health care providers to ask patients about recent international travel and to consider coronavirus infection in patients who have traveled to Wuhan and to report possible cases to the Health Department for testing.

VDH recommends taking steps to prevent respiratory illness, including getting a flu vaccination, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, staying home when sick, and taking flu antivirals as prescribed.

bbalch@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6601

Twitter: @bridgetbalch

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