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Three possible cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus tested negative, Michigan health officials said Monday, but a specimen from a fourth possible case from Washtenaw County was sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing.

The CDC, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, local public health departments and the state’s health care community are actively monitoring the outbreak originating in Wuhan, China.

The efforts include special attention to people who present with symptoms of lower respiratory illness (cough or difficulty breathing), fever, and report a travel history that includes Wuhan or contact with an ill individual who is under investigation for coronavirus infection. These individuals are being considered for specimen collection and submission to the CDC for testing.

“We are pleased to announce that the results were negative from Michigan’s first three patients under investigation,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan's chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We encourage health care 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.”

Fears of a spreading coronavirus prompted the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday to close down 454 points, or 1.6%, to 28,536.

At this time, the only approved testing for the coronavirus is available at the CDC. The Michigan Health and Human Services' state laboratory is facilitating the transport to CDC of any Michigan specimens that have been approved by state health officials and the CDC for testing.

The CDC is working with the Federal Drug Administration and state public health laboratories to make testing more broadly available.

Given the number of specimens being tested nationally, no specific turnaround time is available, but results are expected within several days.

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses common among animals and humans. In rare cases, the virus can be transmitted from animals to humans. This novel coronavirus is a newly discovered version that has not been previously detected in animals or humans. The source is not yet known.

2019 Novel Coronavirus has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan. Investigations are ongoing to learn more, but person-to-person spread of the virus has occurred according to CDC.

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.

CDC believes at this time that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. If anyone believes that they have symptoms and have recently traveled to Wuhan, China, or have been in contact with someone who has had the virus, they should call their healthcare provider or hospital prior to arriving so that the appropriate preventive measures can be put in place.

Public health screenings for travelers from Wuhan have been implemented at five U.S. airports including Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX).

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

kbouffard@detroitnews.com

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