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Wuhan virus: Did snakes play a part?

KT Report
Filed on January 24, 2020 | Last updated on January 24, 2020 at 10.50 pm
coronavirus, snake, link, china, wuhan

(Reuters file)

More than 800 people are reported to be infected.

The deadly coronavirus that Chinese authorities are trying to contain may have a link to snakes, experts said as the death toll climbed to 26 in the country on Friday.

More than 800 people are reported to be infected with the virus as Beijing banned large gatherings and shut major tourist sites to prevent the spread of the disease. Globally, Thailand has the most cases (5), followed by Singapore and Taiwan with three each.

The 2019-nCoV strain might have jumped from the host species - bats - to snakes and then to humans at the beginning of this outbreak, said microbiologists Haitao Guo, Guangxiang and Shou-Jiang Gao.

In Wuhan, the centre of a deadly viral outbreak, residents who should have been celebrating Lunar New Year lined up to have their temperatures taken by medical staff wearing full-body protective suits.

At hospitals across Wuhan in central Hubei province, tense patients with high temperatures turned out in large numbers.

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