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Mystery Illness in China Caused by Coronavirus

Mystery Illness in China Caused by Coronavirus

Saturday, 11 January, 2020 - 06:30
Particles of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) coronavirus that emerged in 2012 are seen in an undated colorised transmission electron micrograph. Photo: Reuters
Beijing - Asharq Al-Awsat

A mysterious form of pneumonia that has spread in China's central metropolis of Wuhan may be caused by a new type of coronavirus, state media has reported.

A group of experts analyzed the gene sequencing of the virus, reaching the preliminary conclusion that it is a new type of coronavirus, according to state broadcaster CCTV. The same coronavirus has been identified in 15 patients.

According to the German News Agency, coronaviruses can infect animals and people, causing diseases ranging from the common cold to severe illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

Medical authorities in Wuhan reported Sunday that 59 patients had been diagnosed with the mysterious form of pneumonia, of whom seven were in a critical condition.

By late Wednesday, eight patients were reported cured and discharged, according to CCTV.

The disease raised alarm in places like Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines, where officials said they would set up quarantine zones or scan passengers from China for signs of the disease.

The US embassy in China issued a health alert instructing travelers to Wuhan to avoid animals, animal markets, uncooked meat and contact with sick people.

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