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San Diego County Health Officials Investigate Possible Coronavirus Infection

Passengers in a subway station in Hong Kong on Wednesday wear masks amid the ...

Photo by Kin Cheung AP

Above: Passengers in a subway station in Hong Kong on Wednesday wear masks amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A possible San Diego County case of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 100 people, is being investigated by health officials, with test results expected back early Wednesday.

If confirmed, it will be the first case in the county and just the sixth in the United States. Cases have already been confirmed in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The potential San Diego patient recently traveled to impacted areas of China, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency. The patient went to a hospital where a specimen was collected and sent to the County Public Health Lab for packaging and then to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. No details about the patient have been released.

Reported by Priya Sridhar , Video by Roland Lizarondo

RELATED: US Beefs Up Screening Of Travelers For New Virus From China

County spokesman Jose A. Alvarez said local health officials are expecting to receive test results early this morning. The person with the potential case of the respiratory illness is in isolation at home.

The coronavirus outbreak was first noted in December in the industrial city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of central China. Since then, more than 5,975 cases have been reported in China, with at least 132 deaths, the Washington Post reported.

RELATED: Response To 1st Coronavirus Case In Washington State Draws On Lessons From Measles

Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County public health officer, said the county has protocols in place to deal with infectious disease.

"The risk of infection for the general public is minimal," Wooten added. "If you have not traveled to an area where the virus has been detected or had close contact with a patient who tested positive for this type of coronavirus, the risk of infection is very low."

According to the CDC, the symptoms of coronavirus are fever, cough and a shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. The incubation period is hard to pin down, with health officials saying symptoms can show up in infected individuals in a few as two days or as many as 14 days after exposure.

Wooten said people should avoid traveling to the impacted areas unless absolutely necessary.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses usually seen in other mammals. Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, and severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS, are other types of coronaviruses.


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