The total number of coronavirus cases grew as of lateMonday, with at least 170 people dead and more than 7700 people around the world sickened. The vast majority of cases are in mainland China.
Officials confirmed the fifth case of the outbreak in the U.S., in Maricopa County, Ariz. Cases had previously been confirmed in Washington state, Chicago and southern California.
The previously unknown, flu-like coronavirus strain is believed to have emerged from an animal market in central Wuhan city. A group of scientists said last week that snakes, particularly the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra, maybe the original source of the virus. But officials from the World Health Organization cast doubt on that theory, saying there is “no conclusive evidence” at the moment.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that usually infect animals but can sometimes evolve and spread to humans. Symptoms in humans include fever, coughing and shortness of breath, which can progress to pneumonia.
The virus originated in the city of Wuhan, in the central Chinese province of Hubei, late last year.WHO is not recommending any broader restrictions on travel or trade at this time. Physicians recommended basic hygiene, including washing hands with soap and water and avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth.
Reporting by Berkeley Lovelace Jr.; data visualization by John Schoen.