Possible case of coronavirus under investigation in NC

This undated handout photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a microscopic view of the Coronavirus at the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by CDC/Getty Images)

The NC Department of Health and Human Services says they are investigating a possible case of coronavirus.

NCDHHS officials say the individual in question recently traveled to China and passed through Wuhan City, where the outbreak originated.

The individual flew into the Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Thursday, Jan. 23 and was presenting mild respiratory symptoms. They were taken to Duke University Hospital where they are being cared for in isolation. 

Officials say the person did not visit the seafood and animal market that was linked to some of the earlier cases of the virus.

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The Division of Public Health is arranging testing, but a diagnosis cannot be confirmed at this time. Officials say the person did not have close contact with anyone at RDU and wore a mask the entire time while at the airport, but if they are infected, DPH will work closely with the CDC and local partners to reach out to people who came in close contact with the person.

"Although it is unlikely that this person was infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus, we are conducting testing out of an abundance of caution," said Dr. Zack Moore, State Epidemiologist. "If you haven’t traveled to Wuhan in the past two weeks, your risk of infection with this virus is very low."

NCDHHS says anyone who traveled to Wuhan and develops a fever or respiratory symptoms, including cough and difficulty breathing within 14 days of leaving should contact their doctor right away and should call ahead before going to the clinic, urgent care or emergency room so appropriate steps can be taken to avoid exposing others.

Currently, testing for the 2019 coronavirus is only available at CDC currently. DPH is working closely with the CDC, local public health partners and health care providers to evaluate this case and prepare for any future potential cases in NC.

Right now, the majority of cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in people who live in or traveled to Wuhan, China. To date, there are only two confirmed cases in the United States.

For more information about 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), click here