The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed today (January 30) the first case of person-to-person spread of the new coronavirus in that country.
In a news release, the CDC said the latest patient, the sixth recorded in the U.S., shares a household in Illinois with another person infected by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Previously in the U.S., all infections had been associated with travel to China, where the first cases of the current international outbreak were recorded in late December 2019 in the city of Wuhan.
As of January 30, more than 8,200 infections of the new virus have been recorded by various health authorities, with the vast majority occurring in China, where 170 deaths are blamed on it. About 70 cases have been recorded in more than 15 countries outside of China.
CDC director Robert R. Redfield said in the release: “Given what we’ve seen in China and other countries with the novel coronavirus, CDC experts have expected some person-to-person spread in the U.S. We understand that this may be concerning, but based on what we know now, we still believe the immediate risk to the American public is low.”
The CDC report advised citizens to take the same precautionary steps they would take to avoid becoming infected by viruses such as influenza. "For the general public, no additional precautions are recommended at this time beyond the simple daily precautions that everyone should always take. It is currently flu and respiratory disease season, and CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed."