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First U.S. human-to-human spread of novel coronavirus confirmed

A sixth person has been diagnosed with novel coronavirus in the U.S., in the nation’s first instance of a human-to-human spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

A man in Chicago caught the virus from his wife, a woman in her 60s who returned Jan. 13 from Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million people and the virus’ origin point. The man, also in his 60s, did not travel to China, CDC officials said.

So far, confirmed cases have been identified in the U.S. in Washington state, Illinois, California and Arizona, and on Wednesday, 165 cases were under investigation in more than two dozen states.

“Our assessment remains that the immediate risk to the American public remains low,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said.

If you have a fever and cough, have recently traveled to China or have been a close contact of a confirmed case, see a physician immediately, said Nancy Messonnier, who directs the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The CDC does not recommend the use of face masks by the general public, Messonnier said. Wash your hands, cover your cough, and “keep alert to the information we have been providing,” she said.

The patients who have most severe outcomes tend to be older adults and people with underlying illness, she said.

Worldwide, more than 7,800 cases have been confirmed with the vast majority having been identified in China, according to the World Health Organization.

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