A health surveillance officer monitors passengers arriving at the Hong Kong International airport. A preliminary investigation into viral pneumonia illnesses sickening dozens of people in and around China has identified the possible cause as a new type of coronavirus. Photo: AP file
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Patient in Japan confirmed as having new virus from China

35 Comments
By Mari Yamaguchi

The Japanese government said Thursday a man treated for pneumonia after returning from China has tested positive for the new coronavirus identified as a possible cause of an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The man developed a fever and cough on Jan. 3 while in Wuhan, returned to Japan on Jan. 6, and was hospitalized four days later as the symptoms persisted, with his X-ray image showing signs of pneumonia, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.

Tests conducted Tuesday found the same coronavirus as had been detected in other patients in the Wuhan outbreak, the ministry said.

The man has since been released from hospital as his condition improved. He was only identified as a man in his 30s in the Kanagawa prefecture, west of Tokyo, and Kyodo News agency says he is Chinese. His family and medical staff who treated him have not been sickened.

Officials in Wuhan said last weekend 41 people had pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus and a 61-year-old man had died - China's first known death from the virus. The World Health Organization also has said it was consulting with Thai and Chinese health authorities after a case was reported in Thailand of a Chinese traveler.

Eiji Hinoshita, an official at the ministry's infectious disease section, told reporters that the man told officials he did not go to the fish market in Wuhan linked to the pneumonia outbreak, but had "close contact" with at least one person with pneumonia symptoms at a place where he stayed during the visit. Ministry officials are checking further the patient's activity and people he had contact in China and in Japan since his return, Hinoshita said.

The news just ahead of the lunar new year when many Chinese tourists are expected to travel. The ministry is urging those visiting or returning from Wuhan to wear masks and promptly go to medical institutions if they have cough and fever. But officials said the virus is not considered highly contagious and just passing by or talking to patients would not be a concern.

China has sought to play down speculation that it could be a reappearance of the SARS epidemic, which killed hundreds in 2002 and 2003.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold. Others found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved to cause more severe illnesses.

Common symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever. Shortness of breath, chills and body aches are associated with more dangerous kinds of coronaviruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

© 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

35 Comments
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Here we go, SARS all over again watch who you are in contact with, who is couging and sneezing all over you in a train, wear eye protection and masks when appropriate. Wash hands well after touching things in public spaces.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Needs containment.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Just get a pneumonia shot instead of the flu, people who get the flu developed pneumonia

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

Those white paper face doilies will not help unless one wears a complete containment suit. How weird to buy that Koolaid about the effectiveness of well-marketed masks.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Yrral: "Just get a pneumonia shot instead of the flu, people who get the flu developed pneumonia"

Or just stay healthy and stop relying on external factors to keep you safe. Almost everyone I know who's contracted the flu this year got flu shots. People seem to think that it and masks are a panacea for avoiding all sickness. Saw a guy on the train this Morning sneeze fully (without every trying to stifle it a bit) Inside his mask, then grab it with his hands, wipe his mouth with the back of his other, and lower the mask over his mouth again), then grab hold of the railing along side the train doors. I'm only surprise he didn't pick his nose while doing it. Masks and flu shots are only as preventative as the people using/getting them, and in the case of hte latter abuse of them and other drugs are what is making stronger, more resistant viruses and bacteria.

I remember SARS, though. Japan went nuts at air and sea ports and bought the worlds biggest amount of "SARS detectors", which proved to be a complete Failure. More than that, though, I remember coming back from a short trip to Korea and when asked for my passport I was nearly led to quarantine because of where I am from. I said, "I haven't been there in ages. I live and work in Japan, and went with Japanese people to Korea and am coming back with them. Why would I be quarantined and them not?" Now, if the shoe is on the other foot and Japanese people are more closely scrutinized, you'll get a deer in headlights and (rightfully so) a question of "Why?" but without realizing they do the same to others.

We're not going to stop things like this until we change our habits, plain and simple, but we won't, and so they won't be stopped. Just stay as sanitary and healthy as you can.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

It’s a little scary considering the Chinese New Year is fast approaching with thousands of people traveling all over the world. Very hard to contain in that situation!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Ain't cool for people like me who work at an airport... but dunno... it doesn't look cool but as people not washing their hands after dropping the big one!!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Very hard to contain in that situation!

Ban travel to and from China.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Is it just me? Recently, as within the past few decades at least, these new strains of viruses seem to all originate in China. I wonder why?

I am not suggesting nor implying anything, just curious what makes things so conductive there, rather than other countries that have large populations.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

China, Korea and now Japan had cases. We should work together on this issue to fix it before it gets worse.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yubaru

open live animal markets in squaller conditions particularly birds are the incubators

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good time to go vegan

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

As I recall during SARS, Japanese airports and immigration allowed Japanese staff from Panasonic from Canada but denied non-Japanese employees. I hope they have better public health services or else it'll catch quickly. Those masks aren't going to help

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Once this gets onto a rush hour train, it's going to be like World War Z.

I literally had to stop a 40-something salaryman this morning from picking his nose and eating it like a 3-year-old. Shoved a packet of tissues into his other hand and told him to show some manners.

He got off at the next stop.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Ban travel to and from China.

At some point, it might become a necessity if the situation goes out of control. The Chinese health authorities made a mess out of this because they learned nothing from the SARS outbreak back then. It's just ridiculous sometimes how humans can sometimes be so slow at applying valuable lessons from the past.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I literally had to stop a 40-something salaryman this morning from picking his nose and eating it like a 3-year-old. Shoved a packet of tissues into his other hand and told him to show some manners.

Not sure if I'm more uncomfortable with the salarymans gross actions or your bullying behaviour. Probably the latter.

I would have looked the other way. He wasn't hurting anyone or spreading disease.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Accelerating melting of permafrost may lead to the reactivation of diseases we have not experienced within living memory.

If a 'wild animal market' is bringing in exotic species, for example from parts of Mongolia or Siberia where some previously frozen germs have thawed out or been dispersed by humans who travel, the epidemiology may be especially challenging -- but all the more so of critical importance to untangle.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Thanks China!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Finally a valid reason to ban travel from China.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

IF the "sneezers" would use proper etiquette and both the schools and parents at home cover up their sneezing instead of blasting, hmm might no a bit to keep it contained vs airborne. Same for the old geezers who I saw one at very popular grocery store, blast away without covering into the uncovered fish aisle for sale. Finally highly recommend quarantine for those coming in from those countries. Not our fault that they were there regardless of the purpose. oh and wash wash wash your hands.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Not sure if I'm more uncomfortable with the salarymans gross actions or your bullying behaviour. Probably the latter. I would have looked the other way. He wasn't hurting anyone or spreading disease.

I'm more appalled at your response, which sends the wrong message. Political correctness and social stigma is dead.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Please, posters. No graphic descriptions. People are eating while reading...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

NOONE holds their hand or elbow in front of their mouth when they cough or sneeze in public. And people wonder why viruses spread so quickly.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Again, China exporting theft technology and viruses, build the wall !!.. lol

I know it's impossible.

Well, ban travel from China could be ok .

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Again, China exporting theft technology and viruses, build the wall !!.. lol

Well, japan has its own virus exported to the whole East Asia : Japanese encephalitis

1 ( +3 / -2 )

We need to give it a catchy acronym. How about WARP? Wuhan Acquired Roaming Pathogen.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The fabled screening which we were assured would protect us all failed with this first patient. He says he took medication to reduce his temperature.

Thus he did not show up on the thermograph.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Once an infected individual gets on a crowded rush hour train and coughs and sneezes a few times then it is...game over!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Wash your hands...many times a day. Gargle. Wear a mask. It's the flu season anyway, so we should do that regularly. As a university professor on Shikoku, LOTS of students have the flu. I also help out a major corporation that has these open staff rooms with 40+ people in them. I was supposed to go to one yesterday, but they called and said that 1/4 of the staff who work in the office are down with the flu. So, we should postpone. Let's be careful out there.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Wash your hands...many times a day. Gargle. Wear a mask. It's the flu season anyway, so we should do that regularly. As a university professor on Shikoku, LOTS of students have the flu.

If you are a professor, you should know better!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Does anyone have any evidence that gargling actually does anything to prevent disease?

I would have thought that, if anything, it would put droplets of sputum into the air - and the splashback from the spitting out? How can that be a health benefit?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

we learned to sneeze into our elbows to avoid hand transmission. It's been a while now and people have forgotten.

I'd encourage Japan to have a public awareness campaign

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd encourage Japan to have a public awareness campaign

No thank you! I dont want to see a bunch of kids dancing around in mini-skirts sneezing into each others bent elbows! (sarcasm!)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you can't beat them, join them. I gargle now most mornings to loosen the sticky film in my morning throat where the little aliens cling. I wear a mask where and when necessary, including on my visits to the disease magnet, er... national hospital. Any little barrier in a storm, either in or out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@smithinjapan

Or just stay healthy and stop relying on external factors to keep you safe.

Why do you imagine it's good advice to recommend to other people that they don't get vaccinated - whether you apply that advice to influenza or any other infectious disease? There is no scientific or statistical basis for suggesting that vaccination increases infection rates, or makes a person more likely to catch the disease.

Your anecdotal observation isn't data, it doesn't scale to community or population level, and even as an anecdote, it's untrustworthy - for those of us with memories, it's the same story you've been trotting out for years, and also a favourite of vaccine deniers.

Good sanitation and good hygiene are already recommended by all health organizations. They reduce the chance of infection. But they are not a replacement for vaccination where a vaccine is available. That is true even with less effective vaccines like influenza, which reduce infection rates both by reducing each vaccinated person's chances of being infected, and, if that person remains disease-free, by them not infecting others. It is undeniable that you will get better results if 90% of people are vaccinated against influenza than if only 10% are, and that is the case even in the years when the vaccine is measured as having lowest efficacy.

Your alternative to that is that we should all just take our chances. In effect, you're advocating that every person you or your family comes into contact with should not be vaccinated against influenza: doctors, teachers, transport workers, food workers, shop staff...people who every day are in close contact with a lot of other people, some of them healthy, some sick, some asymptomatic but carrying (and shedding) disease - and then these by-your-wish unvaccinated people will be dealing face to face with you. Or your wife, or your children. It's unclear to me why you think it's better that such a person would be unvaccinated instead of vaccinated - unless you're actually unaware what influenza is, and what it can do to you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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