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Health officials investigating possible coronavirus cases in Tennessee, Texas

Posted at 6:23 AM, Jan 24, 2020

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Health says a Tennessee Tech student is being tested for the Wuhan coronavirus — the mysterious illness that has sickened more than 800 people and killed 26 people worldwide.

The announcement comes just days after U.S. officials confirmed the first case of virus on American soil, at an airport in Washington.

The Tennessee student had "very mild symptoms" and had a recent travel history that met the criteria to test for 2019-nCoV, according to university officials.

School officials say health providers quickly recognized that the patient met the testing criteria and are awaiting the results. In the meantime, the student is being kept isolated and nothing has been confirmed.

School officials say they're continuing to communicate with Cookeville Regional Medical Center, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control in regards to the student's health.

The Tennessee Department of Health's announcement came the same day that officials in Texas also announced they were investigating possible instances of the virus.

The Texas patient, a student at Texas A&M, is being quarantined in his home.

Officials in New Jersey also announced Thursday that they had investigated a possible case of coronavirus, but tests came up negative.

Wuhan, China has been the epicenter of the outbreak of the coronavirus first detected last month. The CDC issued a level 3 travel warning Thursday for people visiting Wuhan.

Under the warning, the CDC is urging travelers to "avoid all non-essential travel" to the city.

The ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the virus can spread from person to person and preliminary information suggests that older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk, according to the CDC.

According to the CDC, those that have traveled to Wuhan recently and feel sick with fever, cough or have difficulty breathing should:

· Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor's office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

· Avoid contact with others.

· Not travel while sick.

· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

· Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.