LANSING (WJRT) (1/24/2020) - Three patients from Macomb and Washtenaw counties are being tested to see whether they have the coronavirus, which is sweeping through a Chinese city.
Health officials are testing anyone with lower respiratory illness, fevers and a history of travel to the Wuhan area of China, where the outbreak originated, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Specimens from all three patients are being forwarded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, which is the only U.S. facility equipped to properly diagnose coronavirus.
Health officials say the three patients being tested are isolating themselves and the county health departments are monitoring anyone who has been in contact with them recently.
“Our goal is to quickly identify individuals with the virus and prevent any potential spread,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan's chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. "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.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has received referrals from several other counties regarding possible coronavirus cases. However, only the three patients' specimens were deemed probable enough to see further testing.
Travelers from the Wuhan area of China are receiving public health screenings at airports in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles when they land.
Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The CDC believes symptoms appear in two to 14 days after exposure.
Anyone experiencing those symptoms who recently traveled to Wuhan or is in contact with someone who did should call their health care provider or seek medical attention.