The health authorities of China said on December 31 said that they are investigating 27 cases of viral pneumonia in the central city of Wuhan after the rumors were spread on social media which suggests the epidemic could be linked to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Out of the total people infected, seven were in critical condition and 18 were in stable condition, according to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission on Tuesday on its Weibo social media account. The reports said that the conditions of two other patients is improving slowly and they would soon be discharged from the hospital.
The officials said that the cause of the disease is still not clear and added that they cannot claim that the virus is SARS which is being spread online. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said that all the patients had been kept in isolation and their close contacts are under medical observation. It said that a probe into the matter and a clean up drive is being conducted at a seafood market in the city which is suspected to be connected with the cases. The initial tests showed that the cases were viral pneumonia which were conducted in laboratories. There were no reports of human to human transmission and no healthcare officials were infected, according to the commission.
According to international media reports, a team of experts from the National Health Commission is in Wuhan for further tests.
Since the start of December, hospitals in the city have admitted 27 patients with viral pneumonia of unknown origin, all patients from the particular Huanan seafood market. The doctors are yet to identify which virus is causing the epidemic. The State Health Authorities said that the patients suffer a fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius which has similar characteristics of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome present in imaging findings.