Health officials said Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, that the first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in the state. Twelve cases of the deadly virus have been reported nationwide.
Photo: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty, File
Photo: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty, File

Coronavirus case confirmed in Wisconsin becomes 12th nationwide

Health officials in Wisconsin said Wednesday that tests have confirmed the first 2019 novel coronavirus case in the state, bringing the total number of cases across the country to 12.

Officials with UW Health University Hospital in Madison said they received a patient late last month who began to show symptoms of the virus after returning from a recent trip to Beijing. The person had interacted with individuals from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the deadly viral outbreak.

The person, who was not identified, was doing well Wednesday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Officials declined to share more information on the person's identity, citing privacy concerns.

Even in light of the new case, health officials said the risk of contracting coronavirus remained low in the U.S.

"Since initial treatment at University Hospital, the patient has been self-quarantined at home," Dr. Nasia Safdar, medical director of infection control at UW Health, said Wednesday in a news release. "UW Health has taken precautions, including ongoing staff training and recently expanding our travel history questions."

Seven other people have tested negative for the coronavirus in Wisconsin. Health officials said tests results were pending Wednesday for two other people who might have the virus.

The coronavirus has claimed hundreds of lives since officials first identified the virus in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. More than 490 people have since died of the infection in China, according to the World Health Organization. Over the weekend, officials confirmed the first coronavirus death outside of China in the Philippines.

In the U.S., a dozen people have been confirmed as having been infected with the coronavirus: six in California, two in Illinois, one in Massachusetts, one in Arizona, one in Washington and one in Wisconsin.

The World Health Organization has declared coronavirus a global health emergency. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended travelers “avoid all nonessential travel to China” as the virus continues to spread.

Health officials recommend that any people who have recently traveled to Wuhan and subsequently experienced flu-like symptoms -- including fever, coughing, shortness of breath or a sore throat -- contact their health care providers.

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