Wuhan virus: US health agency reports five confirmed cases

Travellers arrive at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Jan 24, 2020.
Travellers arrive at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Jan 24, 2020.PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US health authorities said Sunday (Jan 26) there are now five confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States and more are expected.

Nancy Messonnier, head of the respiratory disease section at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said around 100 people in America are being investigated for the virus, which originated in China in the city of Wuhan.

Of the confirmed cases, all five people had travelled to Wuhan, Messonier said during a conference call with reporters.

"Every case we have had in the United States is someone who has had direct contact in Wuhan," she said.

Messonier said there are two cases in California and one each in Arizona, Illinois and Washington state.

Until now the toll was three.

While Chinese officials have launched an extraordinary emergency response, Messonier insisted that the health risk for Americans in general remains low "at this time."