U.S. health officials are investigating a possible case of the novel coronavirus after a Texas A&M University student contracted a respiratory illness, within two weeks of visiting China.
The patient traveled through the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated, according to Fox 26.
The unidentified student is reportedly being isolated at home while the investigation continues to see if there's a link between the illness and the virus. Despite initial concerns, Texas A&M University officials said the health risk to others on campus, is minimal.
"Health care providers were aware of public health guidance on novel coronavirus and quickly recognized that the patient met the criteria for coronavirus testing and is being kept isolated at home, while the precautionary testing is done," the Brazos County Health District said. "If there is a confirmed case, we will promptly announce it."
The coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, began at an animal and seafood market in Wuhan and has spread to several other countries, including the United States. The illness is said to be transferable between humans.
Most coronaviruses cause only mild symptoms, similar to that of the common cold. Other strains, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), can cause pneumonia and death.
Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. There aren't many preemptive steps that can be taken to avoid infection, other than practicing basic sanitary measures on a regular basis.
- Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands
- Avoid close contact with sick people
If you are sick, you can protect others by:
- Staying home until you are well
- Avoiding close contact with others
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing
- Keep objects and surfaces in your home or workspace clean and disinfected
Currently, there is no vaccine to protect against the coronavirus, but officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) confirmed to Fox News this week that they are working one to try to combat the new medical threat.
Fox News' Louis Casiano and Madeline Farber contributed to this report