Unidentified pneumonia virus spreads in Wuhan

The South China Morning Post reports:

Chinese health authorities should be on high alert for a possible new strain of pneumonia and learn from 2002’s deadly SARS epidemic, medical experts said after cases of a mystery outbreak almost doubled in three days.

The authorities in Wuhan, central China, said 44 people had been admitted to hospital with the unidentified virus, up from the 27 reported on Tuesday. Eleven of them were in a serious condition, while a further 121 people who had been in close contact with the infected patients had been placed under medical observation. No deaths have been reported.

Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said that the origin of the viral pneumonia outbreak remained unknown. It said investigations had so far ruled out common flu, avian flu, adenovirus infection and other common respiratory diseases. Further laboratory tests and investigations were under way.

The SCMP says that Hong Kong health authorities have unveiled a “raft of prevention measures to screen all travelers coming from Wuhan.”