From small bottles, it rapidly turned into a lethal epidemic of the highly contagious virus
A small number of people across the US could have been infected with the highly contagious coronavirus since it was first identified in a laboratory in Saudi Arabia in September 2012, and the federal government has launched a campaign to trace them and ensure public health is protected.
There is no known cure for coronavirus, which first showed up in the Middle East as an Emirati worker fell ill, but can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia. The 2010 outbreak of swine flu was “largely” caused by exposure to a related virus.
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Covid-19, named after the yeast used to make it, turns into a dangerous blood-forming virus after the liver decays and eventually leads to liver failure. There are more than 1,200 confirmed cases, about 30% of which have led to liver failure.
US health officials believe it may have begun to spread by animals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement warning Americans about the virus, which is being reported in 10 states: California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia.
Previously, there had been only four confirmed cases in the US, all of which were reported by Georgia health officials in 2017.
Virginia health officials have confirmed 59 cases in patients between 2012 and 2018, with about two-thirds requiring hospitalization, according to the CDC. The disease has not spread between humans.
“If you have had contact with an infected person, the risk of infection still exists today,” said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner. “We ask people with a severe case of flu-like illness to contact their healthcare provider.”
Last month, a Saudi man died after contracting the virus for the first time on his way to the US.
In June, Saudi Arabia became the first country to report one case of a person contracting the virus while on US soil, and on Saturday health officials confirmed the first person infected with the virus in the US died in Texas.
The coronavirus is carried in the respiratory tracts of camels, which is how it entered the Middle East.
The CDC said people who may have been exposed to the virus should seek medical treatment, especially if they became sick within two to eight days after exposure, or if they have had contact with an infected person. People who become sick with a fever or throat infection following exposure to people who show flu-like symptoms should seek care at their first appointment, even if they have never been ill.
The virus is common in most Middle Eastern countries, and there are people who work closely with camels who are exposed to it most often. However, the CDC said it cannot confirm that it has caused the majority of human cases.