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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is investigating potential cases of the novel coronavirus 2019 outbreak.
The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, but has spread to over 100 confirmed cases in China — with a growing number of international cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the virus’ symptoms begin to appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure, and can range in severity from mild illness to death.
“At MDHHS, we recognize the potential threat associated with this virus and are working to identify any suspect cases in Michigan,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, said in a news release. “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.”
The CDC provides the only approved testing for the virus. There have been collections of specimens from three people in Michigan — two from Washtenaw County and one from Macomb County — that have been approved by the MDHHS to receive further testing at the CDC.
All Michigan cases presented with only mild illness, and the individuals are expected to receive testing results within several days. Those who have been in close contact with the individuals are being closely monitored by local health departments.
The Michigan State Laboratory is prepared to continue to receive and send specimen to the CDC, but the Federal Drug Administration and state public health laboratories are working to make testing more available.
Nationally, there have been two confirmed cases in the United States
— one in the state of Washington and the other in Illinois.
Anyone experiencing lower respiratory illness, coughing, difficulty breathing, fever, and shortness of breath are considered for specimen collection for the CDC, along with those who have recently visited Wuhan or those that have come into contact with someone who has recently visited Wuhan. The CDC has also implemented public health screenings in five airports for travelers from Wuhan.
Those experiencing symptoms should call their health care provider before arriving, so that preventative measures can take place. Health care providers are urged to stay vigilant in regard to patient travel history and symptoms in order to minimize potential spread.
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