Pneumonia Outbreak in China Spurs Fever Checks From Singapore to Taiwan

Pneumonia Outbreak in China Spurs Fever Checks From Singapore to Taiwan(Bloomberg) -- The cause of a mysterious lung infection in China continues to elude disease-trackers as the number of reported cases in the outbreak climbs.As of Friday, 44 people have been diagnosed with pneumonia, the cause of which is unknown, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement. That’s up from 27 three days ago. Eleven are in serious condition.The World Health Organization has been in touch the Chinese government and investigations are underway, though officials cannot yet confirm which pathogen is responsible, said spokesman Tarik Jasarevic in Geneva.Singapore’s Ministry of Health said temperature screening will be implemented at Changi Airport for all travelers arriving from the central Chinese city of Wuhan. In Hong Kong, thermal imaging systems will be deployed as part of increased fever surveillance at boundary check points, authorities said. Taiwan has implemented similar measures, its Centers for Disease Control said Tuesday.Pathogen studies have ruled out common respiratory diseases including influenza, avian flu and adenovirus infections, Wuhan health authorities said. Some of those with pneumonia worked at a fresh seafood and produce market in the city. All the patients are being treated under quarantine, according to the commission.The market, which has since been closed, sold birds, pheasants, and snakes, along with organs of rabbits and other wildlife, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy said Thursday, citing media reports. That’s triggered worries about the potential jump of an unknown virus to humans -- reminiscent of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, which killed almost 800 people about 17 years ago. The Wuhan Institute of Virology didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment on the infectious source.Fake NewsSeveral people were arrested for circulating fake news online about the viral spread of pneumonia, provincial authorities said, adding that rumors on social media alleging that there had been an outbreak of SARS are untrue, and no person-to-person transmission has been found so far.Three travelers from Wuhan were admitted to hospitals in Hong Kong, though two were subsequently released, the South China Morning Post reported late Thursday. The city has hasn’t received any Wuhan-related severe pneumonia cases, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan told reporters Thursday.Singapore asked doctors to look out for suspected cases of pneumonia among people who have recently returned from Wuhan.“Suspect cases with fever and acute respiratory illness or pneumonia and with travel history to Wuhan within 14 days before onset of symptoms will be isolated as a precautionary measure to prevent transmission,” the city-state’s Ministry of Health said in a Facebook post.\--With assistance from Samson Ellis, Dong Lyu and Catherine Bosley.To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Gale in Melbourne at j.gale@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fion Li at fli59@bloomberg.net, Thomas MulierFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.




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