The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed the first person-to-person transmission of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the United States.
The CDC announced Thursday a woman, who was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus in Chicago, Illinois, transmitted it to her husband.
Last week, health officials said the woman, who is in her 60s, reported feeling sick when she arrived home to Chicago from Wuhan on Jan. 13.
CDC officials say the woman's husband immediately started experiencing symptoms of the virus and that the wife is doing OK.
The first U.S. case of the coronavirus was confirmed early last week in the state of Washington. Officials say they were able to detect the virus early in the patient, who is a man in his 30s.
Before now, the only human-to-human spread had been seen in the China. Still, health officials say the risk for infection in the U.S. remains low.
“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 US,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “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.”
Chinese officials reported Thursday the virus has killed 170 people and sickened more than 7,000 people in mainland China. Right now, the CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the Asian country.
Thursday morning, officials in Italy blocked 6,000 passengers aboard a cruise ship in Italy from departing the vessel after one passenger began exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus. The woman was reported to have been experiencing respiratory issues and a fever.
Regarding the source of the virus, the CDC says most patients reportedly had some link to a large seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, China, which suggests animal to human spread. The market in Wuhan, China was closed early this month for disinfection and cleaning.
The CDC says that more cases of the virus will likely be reported in the U.S. in the coming days and weeks, including more person-to-person spread. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. For the general public, no additional precautions are recommended at this time beyond the simple daily precautions that everyone should always take to stop the spread of germs.