BU student tests negative for novel coronavirus

BU student tests negative for novel coronavirus
A Baylor student who recently traveled to China is being tested for a possible case of the 2019 novel coronavirus, the university said in a press release late Friday afternoon. (Source: (Baylor University photo/file))

WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A Baylor student who fell ill after recently travelling to China tested negative for the 2019 novel coronavirus, the university announced Monday.

“This is very good news, and we are deeply grateful to our local and university health care providers and officials and the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District for their approach to this case, their proactive guidance and expertise and the compassionate care extended to our student while we awaited the CDC results,” said Sharon W. Stern, M.D., medical director for Baylor University Health Services.

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District notified the university about the testing on Friday.

Samples were taken on Thursday and were sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We continue to take this issue seriously and remain vigilant,” Stern said.

“Our prayers are with all those affected and for the doctors, nurses and other health officials who are working to understand and contain the virus,” she said.

“At this time, we ask our campus community to continue to take actions to prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses.”

The new strain of coronavirus, which first surfaced in Wuhan, China, hasn’t been seen in humans before.

Those with confirmed infections have had mild to severe respiratory illnesses with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Symptoms of the new virus may appear in as little as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The unidentified student was moved to an isolated room on campus as a precaution and the room in which he was living in a campus dorm was thoroughly sanitized, the university said.

Baylor's spring semester started on Jan. 13.

On Thursday, health officials in Brazos County confirmed that a Texas A&M student from China had been tested for the virus, as well.

Those results also came back negative.

What you need to know about the novel coronavirus

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of this illness include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. This novel coronavirus has the potential to cause severe disease and death. Preliminary information suggests older adults and people with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems may be at higher risk of severe illness from this virus. Many characteristics of this novel coronavirus and how it may affect people are still unclear.

The CDC clinical criteria have been developed based on what is known about MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV and are subject to change as additional information becomes available.

Prevention recommendations from the CDC

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. . However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.

CDC recommends avoiding non-essential travel to Wuhan, China. Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan, including buses, subways, trains, and the airport. Remain alert if traveling to other parts of China by practicing the precautions below.

Travelers to China should

• Avoid contact with sick people.

• Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).

• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

If you traveled to China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

• Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

• Avoid contact with others.

• Not travel while sick.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

(Source: Waco-McLennan County Health Dept.)

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