Nine members of the same family in Hong Kong contracted a corona virus after sharing a traditional hotpot meal, officials said there.
On Sunday, Hong Kong confirmed 10 new cases of the infection that has now affected more than 40,600 people worldwide and killed more than 1,000.
All but one were relatives who shared a meal in the last two weeks, the South China Morning Post reported.
The nine family members and the tenth unrelated case confirmed Sunday bring the total number of Hong Kong coronavirus infections to 36 – an increase of more than a third compared to the previous number of cases.
Nine of the 19 members of a family who shared a hot meal in Hong Kong last month had a corona virus, health officials reported Sunday evening
On January 26, 19 members of a Chinese family gathered in Hong Kong to share a meal together in what should have been a pleasant reunion.
Two of the family members had traveled to mainland China.
When the group sat down to eat at the Lento Party Room in Kwun Tong, according to South Morning China Post’s report, everyone seemed good, or almost, with perhaps only mild symptoms of respiratory tract infection.
But after dinner, different people began to show clearer signs of illness.
On Sunday, a 22-year-old man in the family and his grandmother had both tested positive for corona virus.
Seven other related guests were also diagnosed during dinner that same evening.
They include the parents of the original patient, two of his aunts and three cousins, according to the South China Morning Post.
Upon returning to mainland China at the end of the month, one of the two visiting family members was also diagnosed with coronavirus.
Such a consolidated cluster of infections underlined how contagious coronavirus can be and emphasized the fierce battle that the Chinese health authorities are facing when monitoring and controlling the outbreak.
“We are faced with major problems in isolating suspected cases and tracing those who have been in close contact with confirmed patients,” Dr. told. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable diseases branch of the Center for Health Protection at the South China Morning Post.
When the coronavirus was first identified, it seemed that everyone who had contracted it had been to an open-air seafood and wild game market in Wuhan, mainland China.
But it soon became clear that people were infecting each other – the virus was transferable between people.
Early study found that, like most respiratory diseases that cause coronaviruses, the infection was transmissible through fine saliva droplets, expelled by coughing or sneezing.
It also shared in common with most viral diseases that coronavirus was most contagious when the symptoms were the most severe, although experts have left their estimates of the possible incubation time fairly wide (between two and 14 days).
New research published Monday suggests that the coronavirus, currently known as 2019-nCoV, can be transmitted in this way, as well as through stool and urine contact.
Most disturbing, because Dr. Chuang noted that there are increasing indications that people who have no or very mild symptoms can transmit the infection.
“If there are many people who have no or only mild symptoms, and they have infected many others, then we cannot do much to stop the spread,” she told South China Morning Post.
“We will do everything we can.”
This has also become a concern for US officials, who believe that the virus is not yet spreading in the American community, but could do so unnoticed if asymptomatic transmission occurs.
With 42 cases in total in Hong Kong, including the highly concentrated nine family cases from Sunday, it is starting to appear as if it is spreading in Hong Kong communities.
Dr. In fact, Chuang is concerned enough to advise Hong Kong residents to avoid these types of shared meals and activities.
‘I propose that the public restrict these meetings. If they are needed, try reducing the time together, “she said.
Because the virus is clearly spreading through droplets of saliva, chopsticks can easily be a means to share more than soft pieces of meat cooked at the table.
At the same time the family situation came to light, World Health Organization (WHO) experts finally arrived in China on Monday, after US officials said Friday that the offer to send American scientists “was still on the table.” .
Meanwhile, the first American – one of more than 60 people sick on the Diamond Princess ship docked in Japan – died of the corona virus and the pathogen has spread to more than 40,600 in the world.