An individual in Washington state has been sickened by the new coronavirus spreading through Asia, marking the first confirmed case in the United States, experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.
The patient, who recently traveled to the outbreak's epicenter, was hospitalized last week with pneumonia-like symptoms. Test results for the virus returned positive over the weekend.
Chinese officials have detected at least 198 cases in Wuhan, as well as 20 in Beijing, Shanghai and southern Guangdong province. They also confirmed cases in South Korea, Japan and Thailand. Taiwan's disease surveillance officials said Tuesday that one traveler to Wuhan has returned sickened with the virus. Six people have died.
Chinese health officials previously said that most patients infected with the virus in Wuhan were exposed to live animals in a large seafood market, which suggested that the virus jumped from another host species into humans.
But late Monday evening, Zhong Nanshan, a government scientist, announced on Chinese state television that the virus can spread between humans. Public health officials have expressed concern that the virus could spread more widely as travel picks up for the Lunar New Year.