The United States' first "community spread" of the coronavirus has been discovered in a patient in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed.
"At this time, the patient's exposure is unknown," the CDC said in a statement. "It's possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States."
The resident of Solano County is receiving medical care in Sacramento County, according to CNBC. There was no relevant travel history or known exposure to another patient with the virus.
"Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown," according to the CDC.
All of the 60 other cases in the U.S. had traveled from abroad or had been in close contact with those who traveled. Health officials have been on high alert for what they call community spread.
Earlier U.S. cases included 14 in people who traveled back from outbreak areas in China, or their spouses; three people who were evacuated from the central China city of Wuhan; and 42 American passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were evacuated by the federal government to the U.S. from where the ship was docked in Japan.
The outbreak, which began in China, has infected tens of thousands of people in more than three dozen countries, with the vast majority in mainland China.
The new virus is a member of the coronavirus family that is a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.
The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing, and pneumonia. Health officials think it spreads mainly from droplets dispersed when an infected person coughs or sneezes, much like the flu.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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