China confirms more cases of mystery viral pneumonia
The 44 cases, up from the initial 27 announced Tuesday, include 11 "severe cases," health authorities in the central Chinese city of Wuhan said in a statement.
"The vital signs of the other patients are generally stable," the statement said.
The authorities are still in the process of identifying the cause of the infection, but "influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus infection and other common respiratory diseases have been excluded," the Wuhan health commission said on Friday, without mentioning SARS, which is caused by a coronavirus.
News of the mystery pneumonia outbreak earlier this week led to speculation online that it might be linked to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, a highly contagious respiratory disease.
Wuhan police on Wednesday said they had punished eight people for "publishing or forwarding false information on the internet without verification."
The health commission said all patients have received treatment in isolation and the city was tracking people who had come into close contact with the patients.
Some of those being treated work in a seafood market in the city, and "no obvious evidence of human to human transmission" has been found so far, the commission said. ■