A South Korean woman has tested positive for coronavirus after visiting Thailand, the first foreign tourist reported to have been infected after a visit to the country.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) confirmed on Tuesday, Feb. 4, that the 42-year-old woman, identified only as Patient 16, traveling back from Thailand to South Korea on Jan. 19.
After nearly a week, from Jan. 25, the woman developed chills and other symptoms but did not improve until Sunday, Feb. 1. After receiving checks at Chonnam National University Hospital, she tested positive for coronavirus.
KCDC said the woman had no recent travel history to China and that it was too early to conclude whether the patient contracted the virus while in Thailand.
“We need detailed research through an epidemiological survey,” Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of KCDC, told reporters.
There have been more than 20,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in China, with a death toll of 425. The disease has spread internationally, infecting 170 people in more than 20 countries, CNN reported.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
The United States issued a Level 4 travel advisory—the highest level of warning—to not travel to China at all.
The infection is now more widespread than the 2002-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which also originated in China, in terms of affected people but not deaths.
According to the WHO, signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, SARS, kidney failure, and even death.
The incubation period of the coronavirus remains unknown. Some sources say it could be between 10 and 14 days.
Scientists are working on a vaccine but have warned one is unlikely to be available for mass distribution before 2021.
Read here for ways to avoid becoming infected.