Washington man fought off deadly coronavirus with medical collaboration

The New England Journal of Medicine recently disclosed details about the first case of the Wuhan coronavirus in the United States, which involved a 35-year-old man from Snohomish County, Wash.

The article’s authors said they published their findings to emphasize the need to share knowledge and resources between health officials when faced with a possible viral outbreak.


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“This case highlights the importance of close coordination between clinicians and public health authorities at the local, state, and federal levels, as well as the need for rapid dissemination of clinical information related to the care of patients with this emerging infection,” the Journal authors said.

The NEJM article also shows how the virus works to subtly attack the body.

The man, with no history of major health problems, decided to visit an urgent care clinic on January 19, four days after returning from visiting family in Wuhan, China.

He didn’t feel that bad and had not visited the seafood market where a number of people were linked with the deadly coronavirus. The man also did not have any known contacts with people initially sickened by the virus, according to the Journal.

But the man had seen a health alert by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. He also had a cough that had lasted four days, which convinced him to visit the clinic.

His chest x-rays initially looked normal. Doctors sent swabs to the CDC because of the recent travel ban to Wuhan. On the following day, Jan. 20, doctors were able to confirm the man had the novel coronavirus, the Journal said.

The man was admitted to Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Wash., and placed in an airborne-isolation unit. Throughout, the man experienced fever, cough, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and runny nose.

By the man’s fifth day in the hospital, doctors saw signs of pneumonia on his chest X-ray, in the lower lobe of his left lung. On the following day, his chest x-ray showed signs of atypical pneumonia.

His condition improved on his eight day in the hospital and by Jan. 30 he no longer had a fever and his symptoms were gone except for his cough. Officials have not found any evidence he transmitted the virus to anyone else.

The Journal authors say the case illustrates that several aspects of the emerging outbreak are not fully understood including transmission dynamics and the full spectrum of clinic illness.

The coronavirus has been confirmed in more than 42,000 people and caused more than 1,000 deaths in China. There are fewer than 400 cases in 24 other countries. There are 13 confirmed cases in the United States with no deaths reported, according to health authorities.