Health officials said Wednesday they are actively monitoring 16 people who came into close contact with the traveler to China who became the first U.S. resident with a new and potentially deadly virus.
The man, identified as a Snohomish County, Washington, resident is in his 30s, was in good condition and wasn’t considered a threat to the public. The hospitalized man had no symptoms when he arrived at the Seattle-Tacoma airport last week, but he started feeling ill. He had traveled to China in November, flying home to Washington state Jan. 15 before the start of U.S. airport screening.
Investigators will make daily phone calls to those 16 who had contact with him, including some who sat near him on his flight, to check if they have symptoms. They will not be asked to isolate themselves unless they start feeling ill.
“This may be a novel virus, but this is not a novel investigation,” said John Wiesman of the Washington State Department of Health at a Wednesday briefing for reporters.
The patient is doing well in an isolation unit at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, about 30 miles north of Seattle.
The virus can cause coughing, fever, breathing difficulty and pneumonia