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Doctors in Chicago confirmed a coronavirus case there. Doctors say a woman who recently returned to the U.S. from Wuhan, China called ahead to a clinic in Chicago to say she had symptoms.

Tests confirmed the woman was infected with the deadly SARS-like virus. The news comes as China shut down 17 cities and canceled public transportation while closing roads to prevent the spread of the virus.

Early reports claimed the mysterious pneumonia-type virus leaped from fish and animals to humans. London's dailymail.com reports the virus "accidentally" escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan that tests biological weapons.

The contagion is easily spread through close contact with infected persons and through the air by coughing or sneezing.

The virus replicates rapidly in the lungs and overwhelms the respiratory system, causing swelling in lung tissue and making it difficult for the patient to breathe. The cause of death is usually organ failure.

The first case in the U.S. was confirmed at a hospital in Seattle, Washington. That patient is being treated by a robot to cut down on exposure to healthcare workers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) met Wednesday night but they failed to declare a global emergency, saying there is no evidence that the virus has spread beyond China.