Indian, first foreigner in China contracts SARS-like virus

NEW DELHI: A 45-year-old Indian woman has become the first foreigner in China to have contracted a mysterious virus, which is suspected to be Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like corona virus.

In 2002-2003, the SARS corona virus killed around 650 people in China and Hong Kong.

This time, the new coronavirus strain with 136 new cases have been reported over the weekend in Wuhan, the local health commission said, taking the total number of people to have been diagnosed with the virus in China to 201.

Indian teacher- first foreigner

Official sources in Beijing said that the patient, Preeti Maheshwari, a school teacher at an international school, is undergoing treatment for the new strain of pneumonia outbreak, which has been spreading in two major cities of China – Wuhan and Shenzen. She has been on a ventilator in the intensive care unit.

Maheshwari was admitted to a local hospital after she seriously fell ill last Friday. Her husband, a businessman from Delhi, is allowed to visit her daily.

Detection measures

A seafood market is believed to be the centre of the outbreak in Wuhan, but health officials have reported that some patients had no history of contact with the facility.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a statement on Twitter Monday that “an animal source seems the most likely primary source” with “some limited human-to-human transmission occurring between close contacts”.

In Wuhan, 170 people are still being treated at hospital, including nine in critical condition, the city health commission said, adding that 25 people have been discharged so far.

Indians in Wuhan

Passengers are also being screened at some airports in Thailand and the United States.

Following a second death due to the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, India on Friday issued an advisory to its nationals travelling to China.

Over 500 Indian medical students are studying in Wuhan.