First case of person-to-person transmission of Wuhan virus in the US confirmed

By Jacqueline Howard, CNN

    (CNN) -- The husband of an Illinois woman with Wuhan coronavirus is now infected with the illness, and is the first confirmed case of person-to-person transmission of the virus in the United States, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday. The husband, a Chicago resident in his 60s, is the second confirmed case of the virus in the state.

The woman, who is in her 60s, is the first confirmed travel-associated case in Illinois and was diagnosed after returning from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated. She is "doing quite well" and remains hospitalized primarily for isolation, doctors told reporters during a telebriefing with reporters on Thursday. The husband, who did not travel to China, was admitted more recently to the hospital and has some underlying medical conditions, but is stable.

"Given what we've seen in China versus other countries, CDC experts have expected to find some person-to-person spread in the United States," CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said during the telebriefing.

"Based on what we know now, our assessment remains that the immediate risk to the American public is low."

The Illinois Department of Public Health said the husband was in close contact with his spouse over a long period of time while she was symptomatic. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

In the United States so far, with this latest case, there are a total of six confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the CDC. One case is in Arizona, one in Washington state, two in California and two in Illinois. The CDC said Wednesday that 165 people in the United States have been under investigation for the virus. Sixty-eight had tested negative and 92 results were pending.

In mainland China, at least 170 people have died and more than 8,100 cases have been confirmed as the virus continues to spread.

"If you are a traveler who has recently returned from the impacted area, we want you to be vigilant with the symptoms and signs of this coronavirus," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during the teleconference.

"Wash your hands, cover your cough," Messonnier said. "For the rest of the American public right now, we understand that folks are concerned."

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