By CARLA K. JOHNSON and MIKE STOBBE
SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. reported its first case on Jan. 21 of a new and potentially deadly virus circulating in China, saying a Washington state resident who returned last week from the outbreak’s epicenter was hospitalized near Seattle.
The man, identified as a Snohomish County resident is in his 30s, was in good condition and wasn’t considered a threat to medical staff or the public, health officials said.
U.S. officials stressed that they believe the virus’ overall risk to the American public remained low.
“This is not a moment of high anxiety,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they sent a team to Washington to try to track down people who might have come in contact with the man. The hospital also said it was contacting “the small number of staff and patients” who may have been with the man at a clinic.
The man is originally from central China, lives alone in the U.S. and made the trip solo, officials said. There were relatively few people who came in contact with him since he got back, health officials said.
The newly discovered virus has infected about 440 people, all of whom had been in China, and killed nine. The virus can cause coughing, fever, breathing difficulty, and pneumonia. The U.S. joins a growing list of places outside mainland China reporting cases, following Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.