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DOH confirms mysterious lung disease in China caused by new coronavirus strain

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South Korea's public safety and health agency on Saturday said that it has confirmed that the single "pneumonia-like" illness case reported earlier in the week is not related to the outbreaks in China. The authorities discharged the patient whose health state improved and discontinued the monitoring of people who had contact with the patient.

"Laboratory testing subsequently confirmed that the novel coronavirus was the cause", World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told AFP in an email, referring to the new virus.

There are a wide range of coronaviruses.

Vineet Menachery, PhD, with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) said on Twitter that nCoV appears to be a group 2B coronavirus, which puts it in the same family as the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus. They reminded some experts of the emergence of SARS in 2003, when the virus spread from China to Hong Kong and then on to Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan, and Toronto, Canada, infecting more than 8,000 people and killing almost 800.

An outbreak of viral pneumonia that has sickened dozens in the Chinese city of Wuhan has already killed at least one person.

A Chinese woman has been quarantined in Thailand with a mysterious strain of coronavirus, authorities said Monday that it was first discovered outside of China.

There is no evidence that the new virus is readily spread by humans, which would make it particularly risky as no medical workers have contracted the disease.

There are several known human coronaviruses that usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold, says the CDC. 717 individuals that were in close contact with infected individuals are still under close observation claims the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission.

Investigators haven't found any clear evidence of human-to-human spread, and no infections have been found in healthcare workers.

The Wuhan outbreak has been tied to a large seafood market that also sells the meat of exotic animals. Some types trigger much less severe illness, whereas others will be way more extreme.

Since Wuhan is a major domestic and worldwide transport hub, authorities are carrying out regular inspections and health checks to contain the outbreak. The rest of the patients are said to be in stable condition.

Since December, 59 people have been hospitalized in Wuhan, Chinese health officials said. The market has since been closed to investigate and sanitize the facility.

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