News World First US case of the coronavirus diagnosed in recently returned traveller from China
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First US case of the coronavirus diagnosed in recently returned traveller from China

The coronavirus can not only be transmitted from human to human but when people are asymptomatic. Photo: ABC
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A deadly virus spreading in China has hit the US, with health officials confirming the illness has been detected near Seattle.

A male patient in his 30s had visited Wuhan, the central Chinese city where 95 per cent of cases of the coronavirus have so far been detected.

He had not, however, visited the Huanan seafood market from where the new virus is believed to have originated.

After arriving back home on January 15, the man – whose name has not been released – had no immediate pneumonia-like symptoms.

He eventually developed new symptoms and went to get checked by his local doctor after reading about the viral outbreak online.

The man was admitted to a hospital in Everett, outside Seattle, after doctors diagnosed him with the Wuhan coronavirus.

He is in isolation at a medical centre “out of an abundance of caution” and is in good condition, with the risk of the illness spreading to others remaining low, health officials said.

“We are grateful the patient is doing well,” Dr Nancy Messonnier from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said, the man “poses little risk” to the public.

“We’re being proactive at all levels… CDC will be working closely with the state health department on the particulars of this patient’s care,” she said.

British man Ash Shorley was tested for the coronavirus in Thailand. Photo: Facebook

The virus has claimed six lives – all in China, most of them age 60 or older, including at least some who had a previous medical condition.

More than 275 cases of the newly identified coronavirus have been confirmed in China, mostly in Wuhan, according to the World Health Organisation.

The newly-confirmed case in the US comes amid concerns for “super-spreaders” – highly infectious patients with the ability to sicken dozens at once.

The US is the fifth country to report a case of the virus. Outside China, cases have also been confirmed in Thailand, Japan, and South Korea.

Later on Tuesday, the CDC said it expected more cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in the US.

Late last week, health officials began screening passengers from central China at US airports.

Officials around the world have implemented similar airport screenings in hopes of containing the virus during the busy lunar New Year travel season.

Passengers arrive at Los Angeles airport from China on the first day of health screenings for travellers from Wuhan. Photo: Getty

Last month, doctors began seeing a new type of viral pneumonia – fever, cough, difficulty breathing – in people who spent time at a food market in Wuhan.

Officials have said it probably spread from animals to people. But this week Chinese officials concluded it also can spread from person to person.

In announcing the airport screenings last week, CDC officials said then risk to the American public was low but that it was likely the illness would appear in the US at some point.

-with AAP