Possible case of coronavirus under investigation in Texas, health officials say

Possible case of coronavirus under investigation in Texas, health officials say
Health officials in Brazos County, Texas, said they were investigating a suspected case of the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (Totojang/Getty Images/iStockphoto, File)

BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — Health officials in Texas are investigating a suspected case of 2019 novel coronavirus, the deadly new virus that’s killed more than a dozen people and sickened hundreds more in China.

Authorities said the patient in Texas, who was not identified, traveled recently from Wuhan, China, where the virus originated. The patient "met the criteria for coronavirus testing and is being kept isolated at home, while the precautionary testing is done," according to the Brazos County Health District.

If confirmed, the case would mark at least the second in the U.S. since reports of the coronavirus first surfaced last month in Wuhan, according to The Associated Press.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tuesday that the first American case of the deadly coronavirus strain had been confirmed in Washington state. Health officials believe the virus can spread from person-to-person, though it remained unclear Thursday just how easily the virus spread.

Officials recommend that any people who have recently traveled to Wuhan and subsequently experienced flu-like symptoms -- including fever, coughing, shortness of breath or a sore throat -- contact their health care providers.

The Brazos County Health District released the following recommendations to prevent the spread of coronavirus:

  • 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, and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.