Chinese officials on Sunday revealed that patients infected with the coronavirus can spread the deadly illness before experiencing any symptoms — prompting fears about how to contain the disease.
China’s National Health Commissioner Ma Xiaowei said the flu-like virus is infectious during its incubation period of one to 14 days.
He cautioned that authorities’ knowledge of the new virus was limited and they are unclear on the risks posed by any possible mutations of the virus.
Dr. William Schaffner, a longtime adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the new development “means the infection is much more contagious than we originally thought,” CNN reported.
Schaffner warned that current preventative methods won’t be enough to battle the growing epidemic since it’s difficult to track down the contacts that a patient had before they even began experiencing symptoms.
“Assuming that Ma is correct, we’re going to have to re-evaluate our strategy, that’s for sure,” Schaffner said.
Meanwhile, China said it has banned wildlife animal trade until the “epidemic situation is lifted nationwide.”
The mystery virus is believed to have originated from wild animals at markets in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
There have been 56 deaths and more than 2,000 cases diagnosed in the country, including a 9-month-old baby in Beijing, CNN reported.
With Post wires
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