Atypical Pneumonia in China Province Tied to Seafood Market

Atypical Pneumonia in China Province Tied to Seafood Market


This information is being published only for awareness because there has been confirmation that a small outbreak of what is thought to be a viral pneumonia/respiratory infection is being investigated by The National (China) Health and Health Commission, the Heath Commission of Hubei Province, and the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission.  Reports have also been made by Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) and Taiwan’s CDC.  At last report, 12/31/19, the outbreak consisted of 27 individuals with fever and respiratory illness, with at least some having x-ray evidence of lung infiltrate (pneumonia). Of the 27, two (2) have improved and will likely be discharged soon and seven (7) are seriously ill; the rest are stable. There has been no apparent person-to-person transmission and no transmission to any health care providers or staff reported.  The illnesses are seemingly associated with work or visitation at the Wuhan South China Seafood Market.

The Port Health Section of the Center for Health Protection (Hong Kong) has implemented health monitoring at many different entry & exit travel points, including using infrared cameras to assess travelers’ temperatures.  If found, they will isolate and remove from travel, anyone showing signs of a suspected severe infectious disease and move them to a public hospital for care and follow-up.

The WHO has not publicly published any announcement of an outbreak but are reported to be monitoring the situation.  The US CDC does not make any mention on their website or note the outbreak on their NEWS or OUTBREAK pages.

The official notice of the outbreak was first made publicly on 12/30/19 and was updated with very little new information on 12/31/19.  A symposium for hospitals in the region was held to assure that appropriate measures were in place, and being utilized, to isolate anyone presenting to health care facilities with symptoms of high fever, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, or other respiratory illness, isolate and contain them in the facility they presented to, provide appropriate testing, medical therapy, with follow up investigations and continued medical observation.  Definitive test results on the specific organism is still ongoing.  Unfortunately, news on the internet is circulating that the organism has been identified as very similar to or exactly like SARS.  All the involved agencies have stated that SARS has not been identified and testing to identify the pathogen is still ongoing.  In the same breath, these public health authorities remind everyone that policies and procedures are in place at health facilities to effectively manage any respiratory illness, including SARS.

There is no apparent cause for anything other than awareness for those in the US until further information is made known.  Those traveling to or arriving from that area in China should be aware of the situation, be alert for fever and/or respiratory symptoms, if present don a surgical mask, and seek immediate medical assistance, making the travel known.

See the links below for more details of the information contained above.  Please note that the text can be awkward since some of it has been provided as a translation.

Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP):

International Society for Infectious Diseases (ProMed Posts):

Avian Flu Diary:

Outbreak News Today (science/medical reporting):

China Daily Report (media report):


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