On Sunday, Chinese health officials said that the nation is suffering from a mysterious viral pneumonia outbreak, which has affected 59 people. However, it is not related to the flu-like virus that caused Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which killed hundreds in 2002-03.
The first case of infection for the mysterious viral pneumonia was reported last week in a city called Wuhan, with a population of more than 11 million.
The outbreak has led to a few online speculations about the recurrence of the highly contagious SARS virus.
Wuhan health commission said in a statement, “We have excluded several hypotheses, in particular, the fact that it is a flu, an avian flu, an adenovirus, respiratory syndrome severe acute (SARS) or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).”
On Wednesday, the police said they took action against eight people for “publishing or forwarding false information on the internet without verification.”
Seven of the 59 patients have been seriously ill but no one has died, according to the health commission. Every infected patient is undergoing treatment in isolation.
Health officials said the infection might have broken out between December 12 and 29. Some of the patients were from a seafood market in Wuhan, which has now been closed for disinfection.
The health commission added, “No obvious evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found so far.”
On Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, “The reported link to a wholesale fish and live animal market could indicate an exposure link to animals.”
The infected patients reported symptoms of fever, with some patients reporting breathlessness. In some patients, chest x-rays showed invasive lesions on both lungs. Adding that the cases should be handled with great caution and care, the WHO said, “The symptoms reported among the patients are common to several respiratory diseases, and pneumonia is common in the winter season.”