Washington (AFP)

A woman in her 60s who returned from Wuhan on January 13 and lives in Chicago was infected with the new Chinese coronavirus, confirmed on Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the second case in the United States.

Hospitalized primarily to prevent infection, "she is doing well clinically," said Allison Arwady, a public health official in Chicago, in a conference call with the press. She has not taken public transportation and has had very little contact since returning from China, she said.

"Everything is very reassuring in terms of the risk of infection for the general public," she said.

Nancy Messonnier, head of the CDC for respiratory diseases, said that a total of 50 patients were currently undergoing analyzes to confirm whether their symptoms were due to the virus, dubbed 2019-nCoV. These tests on a blood sample are carried out in Atlanta at the headquarters of the CDC, but will soon be decentralized.

Eleven other people received a negative result, and two cases were therefore confirmed, first in Washington State, then in Chicago. The Washington statesman is fine and none of those around him have symptoms, according to Nancy Messonnier.

In all, these 63 people are spread across 22 states.

"Although many unknowns remain, the CDC believes that the immediate risk for the Americans remains low to this day," insisted Nancy Messonnier.

She also indicated that the incubation period for the virus was apparently about two weeks, and that infected people did not appear to be contagious until symptoms appeared.

Particular attention must be paid to those who left Wuhan before the Chinese authorities instituted containment measures this week, including the suspension of air routes, said Martin Cetron, quarantine officer at the CDC.

According to him, 2,000 people disembarking from 200 flights have been the subject of arrival checks at the five American airports monitored by the CDC since last Friday, but none has tested positive for the virus.

Authorities in the United States are, however, considering "changing their approach" to controls, since travelers arriving without fever or symptoms may still have been infected, said Martin Cetron.

© 2020 AFP