First U.S. case of deadly coronavirus confirmed; Atlanta airport to begin screening passengers

A patient has been diagnosed with coronavirus in Washington state, officials said Tuesday. Coronavirus is a group of viruses that can cause a cold or an acute respiratory infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the first U.S. case of a deadly virus that’s been spreading in Asia.

A patient has been diagnosed with coronavirus in Washington state, officials said Tuesday. Coronavirus is a group of viruses that can cause a cold or an acute respiratory infection.

The initial symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.

Content Continues Below

The news comes just a day after health officials confirmed the first human-to-human transmissions, which means the disease may spread more rapidly. Hundreds of people have been sickened by the virus in China and at least six people have died.

The CDC said the patient is a man in his 30s and he is in good condition. The man returned to the Seattle area Jan. 15 after traveling to the Wuhan area of China, where the outbreak began.

Late last week, U.S. health officials began screening passengers from central China at U.S. airports. Officials around the world have implemented similar airport screenings in hopes of containing the virus during the busy Lunar New Year travel season.

Officials in Atlanta said in a statement Tuesday that Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport will begin screening passengers from affected areas for the virus.

"In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in China, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) is working with partners at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to mitigate the spread of all passengers and employees at ATL is of paramount concern.

Currently, ATL has two direct flights to Asia -- to Shanghai, China and Seoul, South Korea. The CDC will be onsite at ATL’s International Terminal to process any passengers who exhibit severe symptoms or who may have come in contact with the disease."

The CDC plans to be onsite at the international terminal at the airport to process passengers with symptoms. A quarantine area will be set up to take anyone who has the virus.

Channel 2's Carol Sbarge was at the airport, where she talked to international travelers about the new precautions.

"We want to be aware of what's going on," Adrai Martin said. "As a traveler, you want to decide where you're going that might change your mind."

The U.S. is the fifth country to report seeing the illness, following China, Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

The CDC said it has screened 1,200 passengers in the U.S. so far with no signs of disease. The man in Seattle got checked out by a doctor on his own. The organization said that based on current information, the immediate risk to the general American public is low.

A patient has been diagnosed with coronavirus in Washington state, officials said.