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RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services investigated a possible case of infection with the newly discovered 2019 coronavirus.

The individual had recently traveled to China and passed through Wuhan City, where the outbreak originated, but had not visited the seafood and animal market that was linked to many early cases. This person arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Jan. 23. The patient presented with mild respiratory symptoms and is currently in good condition and being cared for in isolation at Duke University Hospital.

The Division of Public Health arranged testing for the novel coronavirus at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The North Carolina Division of Public Health reported that a patient who was being tested for the novel (new) 2019 coronavirus is not infected with the virus. Negative results were received Jan. 25 from testing performed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The person did not have close contact with anyone after disembarking at the airport in North Carolina and wore a mask the entire time while at the airport. The person was transported directly to the hospital from RDU for assessment and care using appropriate infection prevention measures. People who were at RDU or the hospital at the same time as this individual was present are not considered at risk for infection.

“We are pleased that test results were negative and that the patient remains in good health,” said Dr. Zack Moore, state epidemiologist. “We are working with CDC and local partners to be sure we are prepared to detect and respond to any possible cases that might occur in North Carolina in the future.”

Coronavirus infections initially were diagnosed in Wuhan City, China, and have since been reported in travelers from this city to other locations in China and other countries including the United States. No cases have been identified in North Carolina.

Travelers to Wuhan who develop a fever or respiratory symptoms, including cough and difficulty breathing, within two weeks of leaving should contact their doctor right away and should call ahead before going to the clinic, urgent care or emergency room so appropriate steps can be taken to avoid exposing others.

At this time of year, respiratory illnesses in people in North Carolina are most likely due to infection with influenza or viruses that cause the common cold. People should take precautions to protect themselves from these infections, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and making sure you have gotten your annual flu shot.

For more information about 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), visit CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html.

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