Coronavirus Alert Issued for the Americas

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The World Health Organization has issued and epidemiological alert for the Americas following the detection of a new coronavirus in the United States earlier this week.

Originating in the city of Wuhan, China – possibly from its wholesale seafood market -, the eponymous virus is so far responsible for 440 cases and nine deaths in China, as well as isolated cases in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea. The first known case of the Wuhan virus in the US was diagnosed in a 30-year-old man in Seattle, WA who returned from ground zero on Jan. 15. 

The WHO recommends that countries strengthen surveillance activities to detect any unusual respiratory health issues and that the population practice good hygiene. Main symptoms in patients are fever, cough, shortness of breath, pneumonia and muscle pain.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (MERS) are also examples of coronaviruses originating from animals.