Deadly Coronavirus: Illinois Woman Is 2nd Confirmed U.S. Case

CHICAGO, IL — A Chicago woman has become the second confirmed U.S. case of the potentially deadly Wuhan coronavirus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Friday. Health officials are also monitoring 63 other potential cases of the illness in 22 states connected to the growing outbreak in China.

The Chicago patient is in her 60s and is in stable condition, Dr. Nancy Messonnier said during a CDC conference call Friday morning. Messonnier is director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The woman reportedly traveled to Wuhan, China, in late December and flew back to Chicago on Jan. 13. She called a health care provider after experiencing symptoms a few days later, the CDC said.

The woman was admitted to a hospital, where measures were taken to reduce the risk of transmission to other people. Health officials said she remained hospitalized Friday in an isolation room and was in stable condition.

The CDC said the Chicago woman has limited close contacts, who are being monitored for symptoms but are all currently well. “Since returning from China, the patient has had very limited movement outside the home,” according to the CDC.

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She’s the second patient in the U.S. to be diagnosed with the illness, which authorities said is responsible for at least 26 deaths in China. Worldwide, 830 cases have been reported. On Tuesday, a man in Washington state was confirmed to be the first patient in the United States to be diagnosed with the illness.

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Earlier this week, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport became one of five U.S. airports to begin screening passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, on direct or connecting flights for the virus.

What is coronavirus?

According to the CDC, coronaviruses are part of a large family of viruses that cause illnesses both in humans and animals. In rare cases, animal coronaviruses can evolve to infect people. The new virus is officially referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV.”

Coronaviruses are responsible for illnesses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

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Researchers around the globe are still determining precisely how the virus spreads. Many patients in the Wuhan outbreak had visited a large seafood and animal market, but a growing number of patients have no connection. The CDC said that indicates limited person-to-person transmission is possible — but it remains unknown how easily it spreads among people. Illnesses have been confirmed outside of China in Thailand, Japan and South Korea, as well as now two cases in the United States.

Coronavirus symptoms

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory illnesses, like the common cold. These illnesses typically only last for a short time.

Symptoms may include:

Coronaviruses can also sometimes cause lower-respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

The illness can spread through:

There are currently no vaccines to prevent coronavirus, but IDPH offers these tips for preventing the spread of the illness:

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