(CNN)A California patient being treated for novel coronavirus is the first US case of unknown origin, CDC officials said.
The patient didn’t have any relevant travel history nor exposure to another known patient. It may be the first US case of “community spread” of the virus officials said.
The Solano County resident was admitted to UC Davis Medical Center last week but wasn’t tested until Sunday, according to a letter sent to UC Davis staff and obtained by CNN.
Dr. Dean Blumberg, an infectious disease specialist at UC Davis Medical Center, told CNN affiliate KCRA this case is significant.
“That suggests that the virus is out there in the community, and that means pretty much that everybody’s at risk,” he said. “We don’t know who might be carrying it. We don’t know who we can get it from.”
While it’s not clear who the patient got the virus from, “that other person probably exposed other people,” Blumberg said.
“And you have to realize that this virus is so new, that none of us have any immunity to it. So anybody who’s exposed is at high risk of getting infected with this.”
The patient is one of 60 confirmed cases of the virus in the US, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Wednesday. Forty-two cases are former passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the site of a recent virus outbreak. The other 15 were either travelers coming back from China or spouses of travelers. Three others were repatriated from China.
How the person was exposed to the virus is still unknown, the CDC said. The agency said it has not yet ruled out that the patient was exposed to a returned traveler who was infected.