Everything we know about the mysterious, deadly Wuhan virus sweeping across China

Wuhan virus, patients in hospital in China

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People wearing masks to take precautions against the virus (left) and medics at a Hospital where the deadly Wuhan virus is being treated.

  • A mysterious virus has killed six and infected around 300 people in China, and has spread to at least four other countries.
  • Experts say the virus can pass from human to human, and are fighting to understand it and stop it from spreading further.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

China is dealing with the outbreak of a mysterious virus that has infected around 300 people and killed six, as well as travelling to other countries.

Authorities are fighting to stop it from spreading as millions travel for Chinese New Year, and scientists are trying to understand the virus, which has not been seen by humans before, and its effects.
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The virus, called 2019-nCoV, is a coronavirus - which is one that infects the nose, throat, or sinuses - and has pneumonia-like symptoms. Experts say it can be spread from human to human.

Here's what we know:

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A mysterious virus was first reported Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

A mysterious virus was first reported Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

The central Chinese city has a population of 11 million people.

Chinese authorities launched an investigation in the first week of January, amid fears that the virus could be like to SARS — a virus that swept China and killed more than 700 people on the planet between 2002 and 2003.

Chinese authorities launched an investigation in the first week of January, amid fears that the virus could be like to SARS — a virus that swept China and killed more than 700 people on the planet between 2002 and 2003.

Source: BBC

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But authorities later ruled that the virus is not SARS, even as more cases emerged. They said the virus had not been transmitted between humans.

But authorities later ruled that the virus is not SARS, even as more cases emerged. They said the virus had not been transmitted between humans.

It brings pneumonia-like symptoms including fever and difficulty breathing.

It brings pneumonia-like symptoms including fever and difficulty breathing.
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Health officials believe the virus originated in a seafood market in Wuhan, and they initially said that they believed the virus could only spread from animals to humans.

Health officials believe the virus originated in a seafood market in Wuhan, and they initially said that they believed the virus could only spread from animals to humans.

But China confirmed on January 20 that the deadly virus can be transferred from person to person, and not just from animals to humans.

"Now we can say it is certain that it is a human-to-human transmission phenomenon," Zhong Nanshan, the scientist the Chinese government appointed to lead the effort to battle the disease, said.

It was later identified as a coronavirus — which infects the nose, throat, and sinuses — referred to as the Wuhan virus, or 2019-nCoV.

It was later identified as a coronavirus — which infects the nose, throat, and sinuses — referred to as the Wuhan virus, or 2019-nCoV.

Much remains unknown about it, as it is a strain that has not been seen by humans before.

Many corona viruses are not considered very serious, and can only really prove dangerous to people with weakened immune systems.

But some are considered deadly — like SARS.

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As of January 21, the virus had killed six people,

As of January 21, the virus had killed six people,

Source: Business Insider

China confirmed that around 300 people had been infected in the country as of January 21.

China confirmed that around 300 people had been infected in the country as of January 21.
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It said this included cases where the virus had spread to other parts of China, including Beijing, Guangdong province, Zhejiang province, Tianjin, and Shanghai.

It said this included cases where the virus had spread to other parts of China, including Beijing, Guangdong province, Zhejiang province, Tianjin, and Shanghai.

Cases are also suspected in more regions of China.

Source: Reuters

State media reported that transport hubs in Wuhan have been set up with infrared thermometers to try and catch people that might have been infected — but this only started on January 14, potentially missing many people.

State media reported that transport hubs in Wuhan have been set up with infrared thermometers to try and catch people that might have been infected — but this only started on January 14, potentially missing many people.

Source: CNN.

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The number infected could be higher than what authorities have identified.

The number infected could be higher than what authorities have identified.

When China said that just 45 people had been infected, academics from Imperial College London suggested the true number of infected people was somewhere around 1,723.

If that ratio were still accurate on January 21, the true number of those infected would be more than 10,000.

And one case has been recorded in South Korea, one in Japan, one in Taiwan, and two in Thailand — all from people from Wuhan or who had recently visited.

And one case has been recorded in South Korea, one in Japan, one in Taiwan, and two in Thailand — all from people from Wuhan or who had recently visited.

Other places, like Singapore, have reported suspected cases.

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This map shows where cases have been confirmed, as of the morning of January 21.

This map shows where cases have been confirmed, as of the morning of January 21.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are screening passengers arriving at three US airports from Wuhan.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are screening passengers arriving at three US airports from Wuhan.

The airports are San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and New York's JFK International Airport.

Authorities in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo are taking similar measures.

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It comes as the virus' spread could get much worse as hundreds of millions prepare to travel for the huge, weeks-long Chinese New Year holiday — a time referred to as the "largest annual human migration in the world."

It comes as the virus' spread could get much worse as hundreds of millions prepare to travel for the huge, weeks-long Chinese New Year holiday — a time referred to as the "largest annual human migration in the world."

People will travel mostly by trains, planes, roads, and ferries, both domestically and internationally. The first day of the new year is on Saturday.

China's National Health Commission said on Sunday that it will "step up our guard" and bring in new "control measures" in advance of the huge celebration.

China's National Health Commission said on Sunday that it will "step up our guard" and bring in new "control measures" in advance of the huge celebration.

China's National Health Commission said on Sunday: "Our commission will step up our guard during the Spring Festival, pay close attention to the development and change of the epidemic, and direct the implementation of prevention and control measures."

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The commission said on Sunday that it believes the virus is "still preventable and controllable."

The commission said on Sunday that it believes the virus is "still preventable and controllable."

Source: Business Insider

The World Health Organization is figuring out how it should respond.

The World Health Organization is figuring out how it should respond.

It said it will hold a meeting on Wednesday to decide whether to declare "a public health emergency of international concern," and what recommendations to make. It has previously declared such an emergency for swine flu and Ebola.

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But for now, it is not recommending any sort of lockdown or end of movement: "Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend any restriction of travel or trade."

But for now, it is not recommending any sort of lockdown or end of movement: "Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend any restriction of travel or trade."

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on January 20 that keeping people alive needed to be the "top priority" and the virus' spread "should be resolutely contained."

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on January 20 that keeping people alive needed to be the "top priority" and the virus' spread "should be resolutely contained."

Source: NDTV.

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