Health Information Update

Source: WHO, Event Information Site for IHR National Focal

Event Updates: 05 January 2020

Event Updated Country Hazard Disease Event Description IHR Assess






























Undetermined Pneumonia, viral other On 31 December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia of unknown etiology was reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. Some patients were operating dealers or vendors in Huanan Seafood Market. The concerned market in Wuhan was closed on 1 January 2020 for environmental sanitation and disinfection.  

The causal agent has not yet been identified or confirmed.

Public Health Risk
Details of the cases:
National authorities reported to WHO that as of 3 January 2020, 44 patients with pneumonia of unknown etiology were detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China, of which 11 were severely ill, and the remaining patients were clinically stable. At present, all cases are isolated in Wuhan medical institutions. The clinical presentation includes fever, with a few patients having difficulty breathing, and chest radiographs showing bilateral pneumonic shadows in lungs. One hundred and twenty-one close contacts have been identified and are under medical observation. The follow-up of close contacts is still in progress.  

According to a preliminary epidemiological survey some cases were operating dealers/vendors in Huanan seafood market. The preliminary investigation revealed that no evidence of significant human-to-human transmission, and no infections among health care workers had occurred.

Pathogen identification (including nucleic acid detection and virus isolation and culture) and the tracing of the cause is ongoing by Chinese authorities; influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus infection and other common respiratory diseases have been excluded.

Wuhan Municipal Health Commission carried out active case finding and contact tracing. Environmental sanitation and disposal work for Huanan Seafood City market and further hygiene investigations are under way.

Risk Assessment:
Preliminary investigations have found no evidence of significant human-to-human transmission, no reports so far of transmission to health workers.
WHO advice / recommendations:

WHO does not recommend any specific different measures for travellers. In case of symptoms suggestive to respiratory illness either during or after travel, the travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share travel history with their healthcare provider.

 Interference with International travel or trade:

*A public health risk is something that is (or is likely to be) hazardous to human health or could contribute to a disease or an infectious condition in humans.