Health officials have identified a second case of the coronavirus in the United States — this time in Chicago, Ill.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the case on Friday.
Officials said the individual infected had travelled in recent weeks to Wuhan, the central Chinese city at the epicentre of the outbreak.
The patient is a woman in her 60s and a resident of Chicago. She was not sick while travelling and has had limited close contact with others since returning to Chicago on Jan. 13, Chicago health officials told reporters.
20 million in China under lockdown as coronavirus spreads
Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Health, said there’s no need for Chicago residents to change their behaviour “in any way” because local public health officials followed appropriate protocols for infectious disease.
Arwady said the woman called ahead to her doctor, alerting them of her illness, and after an evaluation, the doctor referred the woman to the hospital for proper containment and evaluation.
She reiterated that the risk still remains low for the spread of the disease.
The CDC said it is currently monitoring 63 other potential cases across the U.S.
Earlier this week, health officials identified a case in a man in his 30s in Washington, stoking fears of the outbreak trickling into the U.S.
Officials say ‘too early’ to declare coronavirus outbreak an international public health emergency
Hundreds of cases of the flu-like illness have been confirmed in China since the outbreak began last month. It has spread rapidly, reaching Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and, more recently, the United States. There are no confirmed cases in Canada as of Jan. 24.
Coronaviruses are part of a large family of viruses with a wide range of severity. They include the common cold, but also more severe illnesses like SARS. So far, health officials do not believe the virus to be as deadly or contagious.
The virus, which is believed to have emerged from a seafood market in China, has killed 26 people and sickened nearly 900 others.
The scattered number of cases in other countries have prompted airports around the world to step up monitoring and screening procedures for passengers from China. Fears of the virus spreading are at a particular high, as millions of Chinese travel and celebrate Lunar New Year starting this weekend.
China’s National Health Commission has locked down at least 10 cities in the province of Hubei, encompassing approximately 33 million people. A number of Lunar New Year events have been cancelled in major cities, as well. Chinese officials have not said how long the shutdowns would last.
The vast majority of cases and deaths have been in and around Wuhan.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization decided against declaring the outbreak a global emergency.