China reports 4 more cases in viral pneumonia outbreak

People will have their temperature checked and be asked about symptoms

China reports 4 more cases in viral pneumonia outbreak
Pedestrians wear protective masks as they walk through a shopping district in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. Japan's government said Thursday a man treated for pneumonia after returning from China has tested positive for the new coronavirus identified as a possible cause of an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan. (Source: Eugene Hoshiko)

NEW YORK (AP/Gray News) - Four more cases have been identified in a viral pneumonia outbreak in a central Chinese city that has killed two and prompted the United States and others to take precautionary measures.

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said Saturday that 45 people have contracted the illness caused by a new type of coronavirus. Five are in serious condition.

Health authorities are keen to avoid a repeat of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which spread from southern China to more than two dozen countries and killed nearly 800 people.

U.S. health officials have announced they will begin screening airline passengers from central China for a new virus that is making people sick.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday it would begin the screening immediately for 2019 novel coronavirus.

“Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats,” according to the CDC. “Rarely, these coronaviruses can evolve and infect humans and then spread between humans.”

Recent examples of this include SARS and MERS.

People traveling from Wuhan, China, will have their temperature checked and be asked about symptoms as they arrive at New York City’s Kennedy airport and the Los Angeles and San Francisco airports.

The CDC said it’s part of an effort to better detect and prevent the newly identified virus that emerged in China last month and has sickened dozens of people and been tied to two deaths.

“Most of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China, have reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread,” the CDC says. “Some patients in the outbreak reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, suggesting that some limited person-to-person spread may be occurring.”

Health officials are investigating.

The CDC started a similar screening program at U.S. airports in 2014 during a large outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.

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