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Health Officials: Potential Case Of Coronavirus In Douglas County

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Officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) say a Douglas County resident is under investigation for potential exposure to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Specimens were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing and officials expect to receive results later this week.

Officials say the patient is not severely ill but is currently in isolation at LMH Health as a precaution. The patient returned to the U.S. within the last two weeks after traveling from Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of 2019-nCoV has been underway since December 2019. The patient became symptomatic in recent days and sought health care on Monday.

While this has not been confirmed as a case of coronavirus, health officials say they believe it's important to keep the public informed and educated on this new virus.

KDHE is working with the CDC, LMH Health and the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department to identify and contact all of those who may have come into contact with the individual so that they can be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms, should this be a confirmed case.

The 2019 novel coronavirus spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms are thought to appear within two to 14 days after exposure and consist of fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing. Those considered at risk for contracting the virus are individuals with travel to Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, or individuals in close contact with a person infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus.

There are at least five confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that number will continue to climb. The coronavirus has sickened thousands and killed more than 100 people in China. 

Health officials say anyone who recently traveled to Wuhan, China and developed a fever with respiratory symptoms should stay home and call a healthcare provider or the KDHE Epidemiology Hotline: (877) 427-7317