January 18, 2020 | 2:26pm
Medical staff members carry a patient into the Jinyintan hospital in Wuhan, Cina, , where patients infected by a mysterious SARS-like virus are being treated.
AFP via Getty Images
A deadly virus in China may be significantly more widespread than officially reported, according to a disturbing new study.
The mysterious coronavirus, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has already caused the death of at least two people.
Wuhan health officials on Saturday confirmed four more people had contracted the virus — whose symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing and fever — bringing the total number of reported cases to 45-50, Sky News reported.
But a new study from London’s Imperial College says the actual number of infected could be as high as 1,723 just in the city of Wuhan, the outlet reported. The virus was also found in Thailand and Japan in each case in people who had recently visited Wuhan.
“It is likely that the Wuhan outbreak of a novel coronavirus has caused substantially more cases of moderate or severe respiratory illness than currently reported,” the report stated, according to Sky News.
The virus is believed to be spread from animals to people, but the Imperial College study said person to person transmission “should not be ruled out.”
On Saturday, health officials in the city confirmed four more people had contracted the illness. Differing reports now place the total number of infections at 45 or 50 cases.
Major airports in the United States and Asia have increased screenings of passengers coming in who have traveled to the city.
SARS, another respiratory virus which originated in China, killed around 800 people between 2002-2003.