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Fears of mysterious virus spreading to US during the Lunar New Year

Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, China. A virus originating in Wuhan, China is feared to spread to the US

Staffers from the US Centers of Disease Control will be monitoring passengers from Wuhan, China for a mysterious virus blamed for the deaths of at least two people, reports CNN.

Screenings begin today at San Francisco and Los Angeles International Airports and began yesterday at New York’s John F Kennedy Airport.

According to the BBC, there have been 60 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, a pneumonia with an unknown cause.

The CDC issued an advisory earlier this month. Patients have reported having fever, difficulty breathing, and similar respiratory symptoms. Both fatalities originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

“I am substantially more concerned than I was a week ago,” disease outbreak scientist Prof Neil Ferguson, said to the BBC.

The World Health Organization expects additional cases in other countries due to travel patterns. Last year, some 60,000 travelers flew to the US from Wuhan-mostly through the three airports now being screened. Travel is particularly heavy during the Lunar New Year.

“This is not a time for people to freak out and be overly concerned,” Dr. Martin Cetron said to CNN. “This is a time for vigilance and awareness.”

The risk of contracting the disease right now is thought to be low.

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