Mystery China coronavirus may have just hit an ominous milestone

An update on the new coronavirus causing an outbreak of pneumonia in China indicates that the condition may be transmittable from one person to another, according to a new report. Officials say that until now, almost all of the outbreak cases have been linked to a fish market in Wuhan, China. A new case, however, has appeared in a woman who never visited the market, indicating she may have been infected directly from someone who was already ill.

Coronavirus refers to a class of viruses that are responsible for everything from the common cold to severe conditions like SARs, the latter of which experienced an outbreak in China that went global starting in 2003. The newly announced coronavirus is a version that has been unknown until now, one that has caused around four dozen people to contract a severe pneumonia-like respiratory illness.

Information about the new outbreak is somewhat scattered — it was first provided by Chinese state news source Xinhua News Agency, which was soon followed by a statement from the World Health Organization. In one of the more recent updates, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission revealed that one woman who contracted the condition did not visit the fish market herself, but instead is married to a man who works at the market and had first fallen ill from the virus.

Public health officials say it is possible that this patient was infected with the virus from her husband, which would mean that this illness can be directly transmitted between humans. However, officials haven't yet ruled out the possibility that she may have contracted the virus from fish she ate that originated from the market.

According to its most recent update, the WHO says there is no 'clear evidence' to show that this condition can be directly transmitted between humans, but that may change with this latest report out of Wuhan. As well, and seemingly underscoring the concerns about a potential new global outbreak similar to SARS, officials in Japan say they have confirmed the first case of this infection within the nation. Very little information on that case is available at this time, however.