First human-to-human nCoV spread reported in U.S.

Jan. 31, 2020

Federal health officials and their colleagues in Illinois reported the first instance of human-to-human novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) transmission in the United States, involving the husband of an earlier confirmed case in Illinois, marking the nation's sixth case.

At a media telebriefing, Robert Redfield, MD, director us the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said detection of a human-to-human case was expected and that nine similar cases have been reported in other countries outside of China.

He said close personal contact, which applies to the two Illinois patients, poses a risk of spread, but the vast majority of Americans aren't at risk, because they haven't traveled to China recently.

Ngozi Ezike, MD, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said the state's second patient is a Chicago resident who is the spouse of the state's first patient, a woman in her 60s who traveled to Wuhan and whose illness was announced on January 24. She said the couple's close contacts are under close monitoring and further investigation is underway.

Illinois has 21 people under evaluation, and a CDC team is in the state to assist, Ezike said, adding that the situation is rapidly evolving.

State epidemiologist Jennifer Layden, MD, PhD, said the woman's husband immediately contacted health officials when he started having symptoms and was immediately placed in isolation. She said the first patient is doing quite well and that the woman's husband, who has underlying health conditions, is in stable condition.

Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said the couple had close contact for an extended period, and she said additional similar cases are expected in the United States.

In other U.S. developments, she said all 195 people who were evacuated from Wuhan to the United States continue to be evaluated. She added that the CDC is beefing up traveler screening at all 20 quarantine stations, 18 at airports and two on land.

The 195 evacuees are staying at March Air Reserve Base in California for further screening.

President Donald Trump announce that his administration has put together a Coronavirus Task Force, which has been meeting daily since January 27. In a statement, the administration said Trump has asked the group to lead the U.S. government response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak and to keep him updated on the developments.

The head of the task force is Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, and the National Security Council is coordinating the group. Other members include White House experts, the heads of U.S. government agencies such Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Redfield.

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