In a special report published in the journal Radiology, researchers describe computed tomography (CT) imaging features that aid in the early detection and diagnosis of Wuhan coronavirus. “Early disease recognition is important not only for prompt implementation of treatment, but also for patient isolation and effective public health surveillance, containment and response,” said the study’s lead author, Michael Chung, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Diagnostic, Interventional and Molecular Radiology in the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, N.Y. On Dec. 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) learned of several cases of a respiratory illness clinically resembling viral pneumonia and manifesting as fever, cough and shortness of breath. The newly discovered virus emerging from Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China, has been temporarily named “novel coronavirus” (2019-nCoV). This new coronavirus belongs to a family of viruses that include Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The outbreak is escalating quickly, with thousands of confirmed 2019-nCoV cases reported globally. On Jan. 30, the U.S. reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread of the virus. In this retrospective case series, Chung and colleagues set out to characterize the key chest CT imaging findings in a group of patients infected with 2019-nCoV in China with the goal of familiarizing radiologists and clinical teams with the imaging manifestations of this new outbreak. From Jan. 18, 2020, until Jan. 27, 2020, 21 patients admitted to three hospitals in three provinces in China with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection underwent chest CT. The 21 patients consisted of 13 men and 8 women ranging in age from 29 to 77 years old, with a mean age of 51.2 years. All patients were confirmed positive for infection via laboratory testing of respiratory secretions. For each of the 21 patients, the initial CT scan was evaluated for the following characteristics: • (1) presence of ground-glass opacities; • (2) presence of consolidation; • (3) number of lobes affected by ground-glass or consolidative opacities; • (4) degree of lobe involvement in addition to overall lung “total severity score;” • (5) presence of nodules; • (6) presence of a pleural effusion; • (7) presence of thoracic lymphadenopathy (lymph nodes of abnormal size or morphology); and • (8) presence of underlying lung disease such as emphysema or fibrosis. Any other thoracic abnormalities were also noted.
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