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MDHHS investigating possible cases of Novel Coronavirus 2019
January 24, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 24, 2020
LANSING, Mich. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), local public health departments and the state’s healthcare community are actively monitoring the Novel Coronavirus 2019 outbreak originating in Wuhan, China.
These efforts include special attention to people who present with symptoms of lower respiratory illness (cough or difficulty breathing), fever, and report a travel history that includes Wuhan or contact with an ill individual who is under investigation for coronavirus infection. These individuals are being considered for specimen collection and submission to the CDC for testing.
At this time, the only approved testing for coronavirus is available at the CDC. The Michigan State Laboratory is prepared to receive the specimens and then send them to the CDC for testing. The CDC is working with the Federal Drug Administration and state public health laboratories to make testing more broadly available.
To date, MDHHS has evaluated referrals from several counties and approved specimens from two individuals in Washtenaw County and one in Macomb County for testing at CDC. Given the number of specimens being tested nationally, no specific turnaround time is available, but results are expected within several days. Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly.
All cases being investigated in Michigan have presented with mild illness. These individuals are self-isolating and local health departments are closely monitoring anyone who has been in close contact with them.
“At MDHHS, we recognize the potential threat associated with this virus and are working to identify any suspect cases in Michigan,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Our goal is to quickly identify individuals with the virus and prevent any potential spread. We encourage healthcare providers to remain vigilant in screening patients for symptoms and travel history, and to contact their local health departments immediately if they see a potential case.”
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses common among animals and humans. In rare cases, the virus can be transmitted from animals to humans. This novel coronavirus is a newly discovered version that has not been previously detected in animals or humans. The source is not yet known.
Novel Coronavirus 2019 has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan. Investigations are ongoing to learn more, but person-to-person spread of the virus has occurred according to CDC.
Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
Shortness of breath
CDC believes at this time that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. If anyone believes that they have symptoms and have recently traveled to Wuhan, China, or have been in contact with someone who has had the virus, they should call their healthcare provider or hospital prior to arriving so that the appropriate preventive measures can be put in place.
Public health screenings for travelers from Wuhan have been implemented at five U.S. airports including Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX).
More information is available at CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
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