Health officials confirm case of new virus in California

Health officials in Southern California have confirmed a third U.S. case of the new pneumonia-like virus from China

SANTA ANA, Calif. —
A patient in Southern California is third person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with the new pneumonia-like virus from China, health officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control confirmed a traveler from the Chinese city of Wuhan — the epicenter of the outbreak — tested positive for the virus, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced just before midnight Saturday. The patient is in isolation at a hospital and in good condition, a release from the agency said.

The first known case in California comes on the heels of diagnoses in Washington state, on Jan. 21, and Chicago, on Jan. 24.

That patient had contacted local health officials, who provided guidance to reduce exposure to the public while awaiting laboratory confirmation from the CDC. The Orange County agency has consulted with the CDC and the California Department of Health and will follow up with people who have had close contact with the patient.

Guidance from the CDC advises that people who have had casual contact with the patient are at “minimal risk” for developing infection. There’s no evidence that person-to-person transmission occurred in Orange County, and the risk of local transmission remains low, the release said. Further details about the case weren’t released. The CDC hadn’t added the Southern California case to its summary of U.S. cases as of early Sunday.

The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. It is a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the deadly SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.