Texas A&M student at center of Coronavirus investigation

Coronavirus is an infectious disease related to SARS.
Coronavirus is an infectious disease related to SARS.
Updated: Jan. 23, 2020 at 4:12 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The Brazos County Health District is investigating a suspected case of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Texas A&M University and the health district confirmed the patient is also a Texas A&M student.

Health officials in Bryan, TX say the patient traveled from Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus originated. The health district says the patient is currently in isolation at his home, while the precautionary testing is being done.

Texas A&M University has been deemed a low risk for coronavirus.

Student Health Services is closely monitoring the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We are working...

Posted by Texas A&M Student Health Services on Thursday, January 23, 2020

Dr. Eric Wilke, the Brazos County Health Authority, said the patient developed mild symptoms after returning within the 14-day window then seemed to be improving.

Details about the patient were asked including age, race, airport traveled, classes attended before going to the emergency room, hospital visited and whether or not the patient has kids. Many of these details could not be released due to patient confidentiality rights.

The coronavirus sickened hundreds of people in Wuhan, China before spreading to other Asian cities. The only other known U.S. case is in Washington state where a man was diagnosed after returning from a trip to Wuhan.

The virus can cause flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, and sore throat.

You can click here for more information about the virus from the CDC.

The general public is encouraged to practice general preventive actions:

  • Everyone 6 months and older is encouraged to get a flu shot.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

This is the latest news on the virus from the Associated Press:

The World Health Organization says a viral illness in China that has sickened hundreds of people is not yet a global health emergency.

WHO issued its evaluation after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities earlier in the day and canceled major events in the capital, Beijing, during the Lunar New Year holiday period to try to contain the new virus.

The United Nations health agency based on the decision after independent experts spent two days assessing information about the spread of the newly identified coronavirus.

Didier Houssin, the chair of the emergency advisory committee, said, “It’s too early to consider this as a public health emergency of international concern,” but noted the panel "was very divided, almost 50-50.”

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities are locking down three cities that are home to more than 18 million people.

The train station and the airport in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, are shut down, and bus, ferry and subway services have been halted.

China closed off the city of more than 11 million people, and similar measures are taking effect Friday in the nearby cities of Huanggang and Ezhou.

The open-ended lockdowns are unprecedented in size, embracing more people than the population of New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago combined.

The virus that emerged in Wuhan in December has killed 17 people.

World Health Organization country representative Gauden Galea tells The Associated Press that closing off a city of that size to try to stem an outbreak is new to science and that it’s too early to gauge results. He commended the city’s health workers and said he found them optimistic but cautious.

The illness comes from a new coronavirus that experts say affects the respiratory tract and may be mutating.

The first cases were linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, suggesting animal-to-human transmission, but the illness is now thought to also be spread between humans.

Typical symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache and fever, which can last a few days.

Officials have reported 571 cases in China and 17 deaths. All of the deaths have been in the area in and around Wuhan.

Other cases of the disease have been reported in Thailand, the United States, Japan and South Korea. One case was confirmed Thursday in Hong Kong after one was earlier confirmed in Macao. Most cases outside China were people from Wuhan or who had recently traveled there.

Health officials in the U.S. said Wednesday they are actively monitoring 16 people who came into close contact with the traveler to China who became the first U.S. resident with the virus.

The man, identified as a Snohomish County, Washington, resident in his 30s, was in good condition and wasn’t considered a threat to the public.

The hospitalized man had no symptoms when he arrived at the Seattle-Tacoma airport last week, but he started feeling ill. He had traveled to China in November, flying home to Washington state Jan. 15 before the start of U.S. airport screening.

Many places in the U.S. and overseas have adopted screening measures at airports out of concern about a global outbreak similar to SARS, another coronavirus that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-2003.

The SARS outbreak killed about 800 people, but it’s unknown yet if this new illness could be as bad.

Asian shares reversed early gains as health authorities around the world move to monitor and contain the virus. Stock benchmarks dropped in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

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