CDC Confirms First Case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in Chicago; Infected Female Adult Arrived at O’Hare on January 13, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday morning, January 24, 2020 the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Chicago. A Chicago woman, in her 60s who is currently hospitalized in isolation, arrived at O’Hare International Airport on January 13, 2020, at least eight days before the CDC added entry health screening for Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) at O’Hare.

CDC authorities believe the woman’s case of Coronavirus is travel-related. She is reported to be well and in “stable condition.”

The virus has infected more than 800 people, and 25 people have died in China from Coronavirus infection, which can cause coughing, fever, breathing difficulty and pneumonia.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people, such as has been seen with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). When person-to-person spread has occurred with SARS and MERS, it is thought to happen via respiratory droplets with close contacts, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.

The situation with regard to 2019-nCoV is still unclear, according to CDC. While severe illness, including illness resulting in several deaths, has been reported in China, other patients have had milder illness and have been discharged. Symptoms associated with this virus have included fever, cough and dyspnea or trouble breathing. The confirmation that some limited person-to-person spread with this virus is occurring in Asia raises the level of concern about this virus, but CDC continues to believe the risk of 2019-nCoV to the American public at large remains low at this time.

According to CDC, this is a rapidly evolving situation, and CDC will continue to update the public as circumstances warrant. Health officials on Friday January 24, 2020 said there “is no immediate threat to the general public in Chicago.” On January 21, 2020, CDC announced it was adding entry health screening at two more airports – Atlanta (ATL) and Chicago (ORD).

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