CHICAGO (CBS/CNN) --The United States has its first confirmed case of a new virus that appeared in Wuhan, China, last month, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday. The virus has already sickened hundreds and killed six people in Asia.
The male patient is in isolation at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington. He is a resident of Snohomish County in Washington.
The man traveled from Wuhan to Washington, but said he did not attend the animal markets where many of the patients were infected.
Officials are compiling a list of people the patient may have had contact with since his return to the United States. The Wuhan virus can spread person to person, but not nearly as easily as viruses such as measles or influenza.
The CDC is not identifying the patient.
The CDC announced on Tuesday that it will start screening passengers flying directly or indirectly from Wuhan to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Chicago O'Hare International Airport.
According to Northwestern University infectious disease specialist Dr. Robert Murphy, the spread of this disease will be disastrous.
"Basically, this is the next SARS and there is no treatment. It isn't routinely diagnosed, it can be transmitted person to person and it can kill you. Treatment is just supportive. Approximately 1,000 people died from SARS, and it would not surprise me if the same happens here. The U.S. is totally unprepared for handling this epidemic."
On January 17, the CDC began screening passengers arriving from Wuhan to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, followed by Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.
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