South Korean Woman Catches Wuhan Coronavirus in Thailand

Posted on February 4, 2020

A South Korean woman has been diagnosed with the Wuhan novel coronavirus. The woman - known as Patient 16 - never traveled to China and tested positive for the virus after returning home from Thailand and developing symptoms.

The Straits Times cites Dr. Tanarak Plipat, deputy director-general of the Thai Department of Disease Control, as saying the virus may already be "spreading domestically in Thailand."

Thailand has several regions that are popular with Chinese tourists and Dr. Plipat has previously warned that an outbreak in Thailand is possible.

Dr. Plipat is also quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying, "The country is in the stage of disease transmission. Tourists, naturally, are in places full of foreign tourists and thus are likely to be in areas of disease transmission."

Domestic local transmission in Thailand opens up a new vector for cases and complicates the scanning procedures underway at international airports. Airports and airlines are currently focused solely on China as sources for infected patients.

Dr. Plipat also told the Bangkok Post, "The case of the Korean woman does not change the degree of risk concerning the disease in Thailand. Chances of contraction remain low in this country."

Thailand is seeking details about her trip so they can investigate where she went and hopefully trace her contacts.

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Image: IVDC, China CDC via GISAID

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